Like any relationship, our friendship with the Lord, expressed in prayer, goes through different stages and seasons. So there are times when prayer comes without effort and flows with ease. We experience the Lord’s closeness and receive helpful insights when we pray.
These times of sweetness and light cannot be permanent.
At other times, we can experience a sense of dryness and boredom when we come to pray. Our enthusiasm for prayer wanes. The Lord can seem a thousand miles away behind a brick wall. We may feel forgotten by Jesus and wonder why we bother.
But these are the very times when our love is being matured and deepened. We are moving beyond just what we can get out of prayer to really wanting to be united with the Lord and his will for our lives.
Fidelity and perseverance in prayer at this stage are vital. It may seem to us that nothing is happening, but the Spirit is working in a hidden manner and with intense love within our souls – far below the level of thought and feelings. What we experience as absence and darkness is the presence of the Lord given to us in a new and more profound manner.
In time, and with faithfulness, there comes a gradual re-awakening of the heart – a greater conviction of how unquenchable is the Lord’s love, and a fuller awareness of all the ways he is present to us.
Our growth in prayer is measured not by experiences and warm feelings, but by fidelity and by an increasing gift of ourselves in love to the Lord and to others.
Whatever the season of the heart, we are asked to remain faithful to prayer.