Help…My Prayer Life Has Gone Dry!
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
What to do when prayer seems like a chore and fruitless.
Has your prayer life ever gone dry? Recently I received an email, perhaps from India, in which the writer said, “I have not consistent in prayer some days I done 1 hour but some days empty prayer can you suggest me how can we increase our prayer life I want to be a spiritual strong.”
While that email is apparently from halfway around the world, it expresses a feeling that is often universal: a dried-up prayer life.
So, in this article I’d like to offer a few answers by way of questions.
3 questions to ask yourself if your prayer life has gone dry:
Sometimes our prayer life might be dry because we don’t know what to pray for. A prayer list can help by reminding us.
My prayer list contains several hundred items. That might seem daunting, but it isn’t—I don’t pray for all of them every day. I have different items to pray on different days.
I pray for my family and emergencies lists every day. But on other days I have lists for:
At the top of my prayer list I have this verse for motivation:
To make sure I don’t sin and “fail” to pray for people, I keep this list.
I can do each day’s prayer list in ten minutes or much longer, depending on what I feel led and able to do. Without the list, I would often feel “listless” (pun intended) and unclear of what to do and how to pray.
Sometimes our prayer life is dry because we run out of things to say. Actually that might be the best thing. Why? Because it might prompt us to listen to the Lord.
I’m convinced that often we talk too much and simply need to be quiet and listen more. Ecclesiastes has this warning:
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 NIV)
Listening prayer is one of my favorite kinds of prayer, because I don’t have to think about what to say and I’d far rather hear what God has to say to me than to talk all the time.
Jeremiah goes so far as to say, “The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.” (Jeremiah 10:21 NIV)
Jesus said: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 NIV)
I’ve written several articles on listening prayer. If you want to learn more, here are some links.
When we pray and God answers, we should be careful to remember our answered prayers. Too often our prayer life seems dry because we forget or overlook God’s answers.
The story is told of a guy who was wandering around a parking lot searching desperately for a spot. He was late for a meeting. Finally, he prayed, “God, if you’ll give me a parking space, I’ll go to church every Sunday for the rest of the year.” Immediately he came upon a parking space at which point he looked heavenward and said, “Never mind Lord, I found one.”
Isn’t that often what we do? We forget God’s answers to our prayers and therefore lose motivation to continue in prayer.
A great way to avoid this is to keep track of our answered prayers in a written list. It can be a brief reminder, or it can be an entire story, such as this one I received recently from my new friend Virginia N. DeBoer:
We had just moved to this new town in Minnesota=
and my husband bought me a new boom box=
and I so enjoyed playing religious songs on it===
One evening I was home alone and I thought ‘ OH I’D LOVE TO HAVE SOMEONE TO SHARE THIS MUSIC WITH’
An audio voice spoke to me and said; ‘Go to Mrs. Musser’.
I responded by talking out loud= ‘
But it’s dark out=
she doesn’t know me=
I don’t know the way- (I had heard about Mrs Musser =she was the rich lady who lived in the mansion up on the high hill in town)
The voice again spoke to me; ‘Go to Mrs. Musser’ But- but -=
I then agreed to go and I drove in the dark to her house up on the hill=up a winding road==
all alone- with my new boom box=
When I drove into her drive way- I stopped =
got out of the car=
went to her door and knocked.
She came to the door=
I said, ‘You don’t know me-
I’m Mrs Charles Nelson – my name is Virginia – and we are new in town. I’ve come to share my new boom box with you”.
She replied; ‘Come right in and let us sit in these chairs. I WAS SITTING RIGHT HERE==
IN THIS VERY CHAIR PRAYING TO GOD THAT HE WOULD SEND SOMEONE TO BE
WITH ME TONIGHT – I’M SO LONELY’
God heard her prayer – God knew the desire of my heart- God talked to me and told me
to go to Mrs Musser=
MRS. MUSSER’S PRAYER WAS ANSWERED——
Remembering and thanking God for answered prayer is vital. Find a way to record God’s answers to your prayers. Then, when discouraged in prayer, you can look back and remember what He has done in the past.
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