Sometimes—and I know I am not unusual in this—I just don't feel or sense God's presence. My spiritual life seems empty or numb. I pray, but feel as if my prayers go no further than the edges of my lips. I worship, but as if only going through the motions. God's love simply doesn't feel real or alive.
Such times can leave me anxious, tempt me to jadedness or leave me bored. At their worst, such times can threaten faith to its core.
So how are we to respond to such dry periods?
First of all, we shouldn't be surprised that such times come. Spiritual masters have long commented on sterile patches in the life of faith. St. John of the Cross called them, in their most severe form, dark nights of the soul. And contemporary spiritual leaders such as Henri Nouwen and Mother Teresa confess to enduring such periods.