Praying in Dry Seasons of Life

dry landscapeOur prayer lives go through cycles like the seasons of the year. We cycle through spring-like seasons of new life or summer-like seasons of abundance. Today let’s turn to what St. Ignatius invites us to do when we are in a season of prayer that feels more like autumn, when what was once abundant begins to wither, or winter, when our prayer life feels dormant.

  • Keep showing up in prayer! As our prayer life shifts from a season of consolation to one of dryness or desolation, we sometimes are inclined to stop showing up. Perhaps prayer no longer feels as easy as it once did, or maybe our efforts waned when the gift of consolation was no longer there. If we stop showing up, what feels like a season of dryness can turn into desolation and snowball quickly from there.
  • Beg to get out of it. In our prayer, we can ask God to help us get out of desolation. At times when desolation is intense, this prayer might be something as simple as “Jesus, help me.”
  • Remember the graces from the recent season of consolation. Ignatius invites us to savor the graces while in consolation to carry us through the desolation that he assures us will come. If we were given the grace of peace, trust, hope, wisdom, or clarity, we can remember it and let the memory of it lift us as we continue to show up in prayer.
  • Revisit past moments of consoling prayer. Was there a Scripture passage that brought you significant consolation? Re-read it. Was there an imaginative prayer experience that provided consolation? Recall it. Was there an encounter with a person who increased your faith, hope, and love? Replay the encounter in your mind. Reminding ourselves of God’s work in our lives can help us through a season of desolation.
  • Talk to someone about it. When we are in desolation, our natural inclination is to want to withdraw and keep it secret. By talking to a spiritual director or trusted friend, we can bring the desolation into the light. The other person can pray for us and with us to carry us through a season of desolation.

With God’s help, we can make our way out of a season of desolation. And with God’s help, we will hopefully find our way to a new prayer season of spring or summer. Even if we don’t, and we remain in a longer season of dryness, we know that no matter what, we keep showing up in our prayer time to be with God.


  1. I like your suggestions for moving through desolation periods.
    Another one that works for me is to note that there are several areas of my life like health, family, relationships, community, career, business, wealth and my spiritual journey.
    I may feel desolation in one or more areas, but it’s not all bad because I could feel consolation at the very same time in other areas.
    Those glimmers of consolation in one little area can serve to lift me, and move me towards an overall consolation period.

  2. This is brilliant Your website is changing my life I started attending lectio divina at my parish but i felt so remote i couldn t connect It felt so dry so useless My leader gave me the 3minute retreat web site They are a blessing but i wanted more then accidentally i came across imaginative prayer and now the gospels are alive I don t know how to thank you iam a retired pensioner i keep you in my prayers and this articlePraying in dry season seemed to be the answer to what iam going through now Thank you God bless you Thank you

  3. Deserts are interesting places. They provide silence and solitude, giving the voice of the Lord enough quiet to be heard, and his voice for sustenance.
    I’ve always liked Anthony Quinn’s comment in Lawrence of Arabia: “No man needs nothing.”

  4. Thank you so. So much. The dry, drab days can overwhelm us.. Then some beautiful friend, you, whispers words of hope and healing and new life.
    God bless you.


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