7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness (and Questions for Reflection)

Why is spiritual dryness so common, when as Christians, our life, witness, and service to others should be empowered by the life of the Holy Spirit within us?Signs of spiritual dryness

This is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)

However, we do not always maintain that vital connection to God perfectly. And therefore all of us experience seasons where we feel spiritually dry.

The great evangelist D L Moody understood this. When asked why he placed so much emphasis upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, he wisely said, “Because I leak.”

Why it’s Important to Identify Spiritual Dryness

“Be [continuously] filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18)

Spiritual dryness, or depletion, is not a problem in itself.

In fact, the awareness of our spiritual dryness is a gift from God.

And it is His invitation to come and partake of His life and His Spirit.

However, spiritual dryness does become a problem if we:

  • Do not notice that we are becoming depleted, or
  • Do not recognize that God is the answer to our needs, or
  • Become too exhausted to connect with God

Therefore it is important for us to identify the signs of depletion as early as possible.

7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness

‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.’ Psalm 63:1

Here are some signs that we are becoming spiritually depleted. If you can relate to these, you need to reconnect with God and receive a fresh infilling of His Spirit:

1. A Sign of Depletion is Giving While Empty or Weary

A sign of spiritual dryness is that we are no longer giving to others out of a sense of fullness. We feel empty or weary—our inner tank is running dry.

Spiritual dryness if left undetected can turn into burnout if we continue to give out in Christian service whilst not being replenished.

If left untended, spiritual dryness can impact our emotional, mental, and even physical state.

2. Spiritual Dryness is Seen When We Give out of Duty

When we are spiritually dry there is a subtle shift in our motivation to serve God, whether in the church or elsewhere.

We are no longer motivated by passion. We feel an inner reluctance or resistance to serve, but continue to do so because we feel we have no choice.

Our motivation to continue serving may be that others are relying on us, or we want to honor a commitment, or even feel a duty towards God or towards His calling upon our lives.

3. We are Depleted When Our Faith is no Longer Contagious

According to David in the Psalms, the joy of our salvation results in us leading people to God.  (Ps 51:12-13)

So, when we are spiritually dry, it affects our relationship with those who do not know Jesus. We are not bubbling over, for we have lost our joy.

People are not seeing something in us that causes them to thirst for God, and we lack the motivation to share with them, feeling we have nothing to offer.

4. A Sign of Spiritual Dryness is When God Feels Distant

When we are spiritually dry, there can be a gradual distancing from God. Either we are not encountering Him regularly, or we are not hearing from Him, or we are hearing Him speak to us intermittently.

God is, in fact, continually speaking to us. However, sometimes we neglect to tune in. (Ps 139:17-18)

5. Our Spiritual Life is in a Rut When We are Spiritually Dry

We lack the excitement we once had in our relationship with God. Our devotional life—connection to God through the Bible and prayer—has either been reduced to a rote exercise, is occasional, or has ceased to exist at all.

We love God but have lost a sense of being “in love” with Him. Our relationship with God has lost its freshness.

6. There has Been a Contributing Event to Spiritual Dryness

The state of spiritual dryness does not always creep up on us slowly. Trials or sudden trauma can result in us being depleted spiritually, as well as in other ways.

7. Negative Thinking is a Sign of Spiritual Dryness

 ‘The Kingdom of God is… righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Rom 14:17)

When we are spiritually dry the atmosphere of heaven—righteousness, peace, and joy—seems to evade us. Instead, we find it easier to give way to negative thinking. We falter in our ability to resist and ‘cast down’ destructive thoughts and emotions.

There is an Answer to Spiritual Dryness

The good news is that when we are spiritually dry, God has already initiated and provided the answer to our needs.

In the next post, 7 Ways to Recover from Spiritual Dryness, I will discuss some ways in which we can be replenished spiritually. In the meantime, here are some questions to consider:

Questions for Reflection about Spiritual Dryness:

  • Do I have any of the above signs of spiritual dryness in my life at the moment—and to what degree? How long have I felt this way?
  • What is the difference between emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual depletion? How are they interrelated?
  • What is God’s response to my spiritual depletion?
  • What can I do this week to personally reconnect with God?

Help for Prayer Warriors: Overcome Spiritual Dryness

If you have felt dry or depleted in your prayer life lately, the lessons in my Prophetic Prayer School will be of benefit to you.

You will find these in the class, “How to Prevent and Recover from Dryness in Prayer”:

  • Causes of Dryness and Depletion in the Intercessor
  • Ten Keys to Being Replenished as an Intercessor
  • Receiving Prayer: How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit Through Soaking Prayer

This impacted me personally, and I’m sure it will benefit many of you! I warmly invite you to join me in the Enliven School of Prophetic Prayer

Currently on the Enliven School of Prophetic Prayer are 41 video lessons (complete in your own time), along with PDF transcripts, exercises, and bonus eBooks.

Alternatively, you can view all online courses, including the Prophetic School here.

Related Posts:

7 Ways To Recover From Your Spiritual Dryness

Preventing Ministry Burnout: 6 Questions You Can Ask

7 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Dryness: My Story

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: Prophetic Ministry for a Revival Generation

31 thoughts on “7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness (and Questions for Reflection)”

  1. Irene Kyriacou

    Hi Helen, WOW !!! Thank you so much, I was so inspired by this message. The Scriptures you have written in this post are some of my favourite Scriptures. I absolutely Love the theme of GOD’S Living Water. I felt such a personal Invitation from the Holy Spirit to come aside and be Refreshed, Replenished and Renewed in HIS Holy Presence. I know that as I spend time in HIS Presence, HE Renews my Strength like the eagle, I shall run and NOT grow weary, I shall walk and NOT grow faint. And the JOY of The LORD shall be my Strength. I also know that in HIS Presence is FULLNESS of Joy, Overflowing in Abundance. How Beautiful and Gentle is the way of The Holy Spirit, I know this is an invitation for me personally to just spend time Seeking HIS Face, in the secret dwelling Place.

    I was reminded of the following scriptures to encourage myself.

    Psalm 105 verse 4,
    ” Seek the LORD and HIS Strength, Seek HIS Face evermore. ”

    Psalm 27 verse 8,
    When You said, ” Seek My Face,” my heart said to You, ” Your Face, LORD, I will seek .”

    Psalm 27 verse 14,
    ” Wait on the LORD. Be of Good Courage, and HE shall Strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD.”

    Come to the Living Bread
    Come to the Banqueting House where the Table is Spread
    Come to where the Healing Waters Flow

    My JESUS fed and Healed the Multitudes
    HE turned the Water into Wine
    To the Hungry, HE is calling now, ” Come and Dine ”

    JESUS brings the Healing Divine
    HE Pours in the Oil and the Wine
    HE alone is the True Vine
    Feast in HIS Presence time after Time
    Love, Joy and Peace so Sublime

    The Spirit and the Bride say, ” Come ”
    Whosoever is Thirsty, ” Come ”
    Whosoever is Hungry, ” Come ”
    Come to the River, and Drink from the Water of Life
    Come to where the Healing Waters Flow
    Crystal Clear, Pure and Holy, filled with Love, Light, Life, Joy, Peace, Healing and Salvation
    Waters Bringing forth, Joy and Restoration

    LORD, I Hunger and I Thirst After You, nothing else will do
    LORD, You are my Strength, my Sword and my Shield
    The True Bread of Life, Living WORD of GOD Revealed

    Poem by Irene Kyriacou

    1. Hi there Irene, you are always such a blessing and encouragement. Life flows through your gift of poetry. May many of our readers meditate on it and be blessed!

  2. I have experience Spiritual dryness for a long time for few years already. Sometimes, it seems to be light and I will cheer up a bit but still it won’t last long. Al I can do is keep on seeking God by confess all of my known and unknown sin and fast as well . I hope that I can hear from God like what I could before and getting better and better everyday.However, God is still silence. Anyway, I am looking for a breakthrough in every area of my life and I hope anybody who read this comment can pray for me about this. I still love God and always want to be used by Him in a mighty way. But I really need a breakthrough in every area of my life and need to hear from God again. Right now I keep on press myself to stay in God ‘s presence through devotional music and prayer for my present dryness and I hope to see the light and exit for my situation as soon as possible. If you have a word for me from the Lord, just let me know by posting your comment in here. I will receive it through by email.Thank you and God bless you all.

    1. Hi there, so sorry to hear of the difficult period you have been in. I do pray that you will receive the breakthrough that you are looking for, may you receive such a revelation of God’s love for you and all that you ALREADY are and have in Jesus that you praise will begin to flood your heart again.
      Eph 1:17-19 says ‘I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.’

      Keep an eye out on this blog for the next couple of weeks, I pray you will receive encouragement and be empowered as we explore this topic a little further.

  3. I’m looking forward to your next post on overcoming spiritual dryness – I think I need it! Has been a very difficult few months.

    1. Hi Janet, sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough time. I pray that you would experience His empowering grace and fulness, His Spirit and life breathed into you in a fresh way. Psalm 23 comes to mind for you:
      Psalm 23
      1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
      2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
      he leads me beside quiet waters,
      3 he refreshes my soul.
      He guides me along the right paths
      for his name’s sake.
      4 Even though I walk
      through the darkest valley,[a]
      I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.

      5 You prepare a table before me
      in the presence of my enemies.
      You anoint my head with oil;
      my cup overflows.
      6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
      all the days of my life,
      and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

      Look forward to staying in touch and trust the next post will give you some helpful info and inspiration too.

  4. Thanks for the great points you’ve raised in this blog – which is very timely for me, personally – and others too, judging by the comments already received! Sometimes It can be a ‘subtle’ thing that happens and I think you are right about not recognising we are becoming depleted.

    Also, it’s very easy to get to out of balance in ‘doing’, rather than ‘being’, and a recent series on “Covenant and Kingdom” from Ps Arthur has helped me better understand how we need to balance both. Out of covenant (relationship) with God we are able to live in the ‘kingdom’ (responsibility)

    Looking forward to your follow up on ‘replenshishment’.

  5. Thanks so much Jenny!
    Yes the material we have been hearing is brilliant, and for anyone interested it is from the book ‘Covenant and Kingdom: The DNA of the Bible’ by Mike Breen.

    In one of the talks (not sure whether it came from this book) our Pastor was sharing from when Jesus was restoring Peter in John 21, and He said to Peter “Do you love Me?” Then in response to Peter’s yes said, “Feed My lambs.” The mission, the ministry, is to be sourced out of our love relationship with Jesus. When we lose the connection, we will become dry in the doing.

    So true that it can be subtle! Bless you, Jenny… may you experience His overflow!

  6. Spiritual Dryness…. Your timing is always perfect Mrs. Calder.. I love God, and I love doing for others and building up the kingdom of God. There was a short period where I felt like I was traveling through the desert…. You don’t have to be in the desert too long before you mouth starts to get dry, and your body starts to feel depleted and drained…. but I travel with my water bottle everywhere I go because I know at the perfect time, God will send down some rain to fill my bottle. I take a sip of Christ, and dryness leaves. Your message is like rain for somebody experiencing a drought…..looking forward to your next post:)

    Thank you for doing God’s work Mrs. Calder….. May God continue to bless you and the hulk…..:)

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