When Our Prayer Becomes Dry

Being real with God is far more important than being emotional

When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t seem to know. This is the time we need to just pray without worrying about it. When we find we can’t keep our minds focused on the formal morning and evening prayers, as found in our prayer book, it is perfectly acceptable to simply light our lampada (hanging oil lamp), sit quietly before our icons, and let silence be our voice.

God wants to enter into our heart, and requires only our permission and cooperation. This relationship does not require an emotional response, for, like all relationships, we are not always open to an emotional response. Being real with God is far more important than being emotional, since emotions can be contrived and fleshly. As in all relationships, there are times when we do feel moved by emotions, but the lack of such feelings in no way represents a lack of love for God, because God cares for us, and God knows we love him, even when suffering in those dry times.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday April 8, 2021 / March 26, 2021
Fourth Week of the Great Lent: Adoration of Cross. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel.
Martyr Parasceva (1939).
Hieromartyr Irenaeus, bishop of Srem (Sirmium), Serbia (304).
Martyrs Bathusius and Bercus presbyters, monk Arpilus, laymen Abibus, Agnus, Reasus, Igathrax, Iscoeus (Iskous, Escoes), Silas, Signicus, Sonerilas, Suimbalus, Thermus, Phillus (Philgas), and the women Anna, Alia, Larissa, Monco (Manca), Mamica, Uirko (Virko), Animais (Animaida), Gaatha, and Duklida, in Crimea (375).
Venerable Malchus of Chalcis in Syria (4th c.).
Venerable Basil the Younger, anchorite near Constantinople (944).
Hieromartyr Eusebius, bishop of Kival, and Martyr Pullius the Reader.
St. Braulio of Saragossa in Iberia (646).
Martyr Codratus (Quadratus), and with him 40 Martyrs, who suffered under Diocletian.
St. Ludger, bishop of Munster (809).
Martyr Montanus the priest, and his wife Maxima at Sirmium (beginning of 4th c.).
St. Eutychius, subdeacon of Alexandria (356).
New Martyr George of Adrianople (1437).
Venerable Stephen the Wonderworker, abbot of Tryglia (815).
St. Govan, hermit of Pembrokeshire.

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 28:14-22

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men,
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we are in agreement.
When the overflowing scourge passes through,
It will not come to us,
For we have made lies our refuge,
And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.”

A Cornerstone in Zion

16 Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
Whoever believes will not act hastily.
17 Also I will make justice the measuring line,
And righteousness the plummet;
The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
And the waters will overflow the hiding place.
18 Your covenant with death will be annulled,
And your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
When the overflowing scourge passes through,
Then you will be trampled down by it.
19 As often as it goes out it will take you;
For morning by morning it will pass over,
And by day and by night;
It will be a terror just to understand the report.”

20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
And the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it.
21 For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim,
He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon—
That He may do His work, His awesome work,
And bring to pass His act, His unusual act.
22 Now therefore, do not be mockers,
Lest your bonds be made strong;
For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts,
A destruction determined even upon the whole earth.

Genesis 10:32-11:9

32 These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole earth had one language and one [a]speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord Scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Proverbs 13:19-14:6

19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

21 Evil pursues sinners,
But to the righteous, good shall be repaid.

22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

23 Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
And for lack of justice there is waste.

24 He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

25 The righteous eats to the satisfaction of his soul,
But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.

The Ways of Life and Death

14 The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pull it down with her hands.

2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,
But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride,
But the lips of the wise will preserve them.

4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

5 A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies.

6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it,
But knowledge is easy to him who understands.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Abbot Tryphon,
    Thank you for posting this article about prayer today. Lately, I’ve been experiencing a dry spell in my prayer life. I’ve been neglecting my morning and evening prayers out of the prayer book. My prayer time consists of asking God to be in the lives of my friends and family and then going to bed. Whenever I try to use the prayer book I usually end up quitting about half way. I always thought I was just plain lazy and felt bad about myself. Thank you for your suggestion about standing at your icon corner, silently, in a peaceful state. I will certainly give this a try today!
    May the Lord’s blessing continue to fall on you and all of your brother monks!
    Sincerely,
    Michael

  2. This is exactly what I needed today. I hadn’t given up saying my prayers but they had become rushed and empty in feeling. Tonight, I just sat before the Lord, and then I realized sitting in silence was just what I needed. I guess He needed space to speak, and I was in the way.

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