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Video – My prayer life is dry…

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Dan Burke, Prayer, Videos

Prayer Life:

Fr. John Bartunek and Dan Burke talk about the root causes of aridity or dryness in our prayer lives and what we can do about them:


Prayer Life: Dryness or Aridity

Prayer Life: Dryness or Aridity

Father John Bartunek outlines the two basic causes of dryness in prayer: my fault or God's fault!  He further discusses why each one of these may be the cause and how we need to be honest with ourselves and examine our conscience.  A spiritual director can help with this.  How can it be God's fault when consolation is lacking?  Is God's grace withdrawn as well? Is God's presence withdrawn? Why does God permit dryness or aridity?  What remedy is there for these things?  They also discuss an analogy to what it feels like to have dryness in prayer, and also issues of attachment and detachment.


Art: Bryce Canyon, Lois Sapio, May 19, 2015, all rights reserved, used with permission.  Feature picture art: Still of Father John Bartunek and Dan Burke filming this segment on dryness or aridity in one's prayer life, 2012, used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • CatholicKath

    It makes me wonder, then, how does one define or know when they have reached spiritual maturity. Is that only at death?

    • No there are many ways to understand spiritual maturity. I cover these in my book As an example, I was just on EWTN’s bookmark and was asked the same question by Doug. One answer is with respect to the nature of our confessions. A pilgrim at the beginning of their journey will confess mortal sin. Later in the same stage, confession moves to venial and mortal is less frequent. In the Illuminative phase, confession become mostly devotional, and so on…
      Sent from my iPad

      • CatholicKath

        Well then I even more look forward to the day when my book arrives! I found the prayer book you suggested in a Pauline book store in Toronto and it will arrive by mail this week too. God bless you for your hard work and gentle guidance, Dan.

        • You are welcome – God bless you!

      • Now this will sure be the first Chapter I shall read, Dan, when I get your Book.  The advancement from Purgative to IIluminative and finally to UNITIVE Stage.

  • Thank you so much for this informative Video. 

    Well, Father John and Dan, whether at times I feel God’s absence when I am praying or experience periods of dryness either due to my fault or His Merciful “fault” which, you Dan, have explained so well, I shall just continue with my daily Prayer Schedule, keep Jesus company in the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the Holy Mass and my weekly Confession and leave the rest to Him. O.K.?

    I believe if it is unresolved attachments on my side which cause these occasional  “walks in the desert”,  the Holy Spirit will soon reveal them to me and I shall forthwith take them to Jesus in His Tribunal of Mercy, confess them with a genuinely repentant heart and contrite soul, and thankfully accept His Merciful forgiveness and Absolution.

  • Personally, when it is my fault, it is not just unresolved attachments exactly. Sometimes it is also guilt and shame which keep me from trusting in God and allowing Him to love me during my prayer time. To which He taught me the verse “Look to God that you may be radiant with joy and your faces not blush for shame” Psalm 34:6 

    • LizEst

      Nice verse to keep in mind, Mary. God bless you.

    • Mary, the guilt and shame is induced by the Evil One to make you believe you do not trust God enough.  His very common weapon at times when we are in tight situations. When these spring in your mind just tell Him off with 3 or 4 Hail Marys and remind yourself that God knows and reads your Heart and Soul more than the Evil One. And He knows the real you even more than you know yourself.

      • Thank you for your kind advice! I followed it shortly after I read it! 🙂 God Bless!

  • $20540928

    When I feel alone during prayer I read the Bible or a prayer book i bought.
    And that usually turns me around at that point…Come, Lord Jesus. Amen

  • Peg

    I love the analogy of a baby in bliss made by St. John of the Cross! That description sums up the feelings of abandonment/dryness that I’ve experienced in my prayer life.

    Although, I’ve learned that the dryness doesn’t last forever (at least not yet). I look forward to, and dread the day when I’ll be able to withstand dryness as well as Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta,  

    I hate to admit it, but I’m not ready to give up being babied.  If only we could grow up without the growing pains ….

    PS: I’m waiting with bated breath for my copy of Navigating the Interior Life! 😉

    • Becky Ward

      Don’t forget that there are benefits to growing up…(winsome smile)….like being able to help others.

      If we compare ourselves to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta….and expect that we will also experience what she did……none of us would make it very far in the spiritual life.
      We look to the saints for what we can learn from them…….and then apply that to what God GIVES us…..not what we think He might send our way…or what we are afraid he might send us. This sort of thinking is not of God! (I still enjoy my moments of consolation very much too.)


      • Very well said as usual Becky

      • Yes, Becky.  To me, Saints are like the Stars…..we admire and wish to reach them but we cannot……what we can, and should do, is be inspired by them to strive daily to become what God created us to be.

  • Eugene1935

    Dryness in Prayer

    are close to God.

     I think some people are not aware of
    who God is, they do not know Him as an infinite, weightless, colorless,
    formless, person who has no boundary or division (*Frank Sheed).  If one could comprehend such a being,
    then one would realize that God is in us and we are in God.  We are never
    alone; God is always present.  When we pray we should realize that we are
    surrounded by God’s presence.  That scenario would be far from arid.
     God senses every thought, every motion, and every emotion.  You are
    never alone, never.             * From
    “Theology for Beginners”

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