‘Be [continuously] filled with the Spirit.’ (Eph 5:18)

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

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.’

Spiritual Dryness

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

In fact, the awareness of our spiritual dryness is a gift from God. 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 need, or
  • Become too exhausted to connect with God

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

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. 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. Serving 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. Our Faith is no Longer Contagious

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

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

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

4. 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

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. A Contributing Event

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

 ‘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 need.

In the next post, 7 Ways to Combat 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:

  • 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 inter-related?
  • What is God’s response to my spiritual depletion?
  • What can I do this week to personally reconnect with God?

Related Posts:

7 Ways To Combat Spiritual Dryness

Preventing Ministry Burnout: 6 Questions You can Ask

Hunger For God: 6 Ways You Can Stir It Up

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

31 thoughts on “7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness”

  1. I have never read your post before but I am blessed by your post on spiritual dryness cos I am going through that path now myself.by this post I just read ,I pray I shall be spiritually revived in Jesus name.God bless you and hope to hear from you.margaret

    1. Hi Margaret, thanks for leaving the note, I pray that you experience and receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and a sense of God’s nearness to you. Be blessed in your journey and may you know a full recovery .

  2. I know all these feelings!! I am single and have
    to cope with aging issues alone because I am
    62 plus I have to cope with work issues and I have to cope with
    retirement issues. I know about spiritual dryness-
    I am in the midst of it- I am in the process of finding
    a church home because I do not fit in at the churches
    I attend.They do not want singles and are not
    interested in them.

  3. Andrea Richardson

    Thanks to David McCracken Ministries for reposting this on Facebook. I can relate to too many of those questions. Especially 3 and 4. I know around my Christian friends number 3 is thriving but I don’t know if I can say the same outside that and I hunger for it to be. God does feel distant. He talks to me in prophetic words and dreams but then I go through lost pauses in time where I don’t hear from Him and then I feel sad without Him. I feel like I wish the world would go away and stop interfering with my time with God so I can just be alone with Him all the time. I read daily devotionals saying to walk in God’s presence. Does this happen all the time? Should we always feel Gods presence with us at all times? Because I don’t and I’m chasing it. Am I putting too much expectation on it? Then I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I have only been a Christian for 2 years and before that considered myself an atheist and I had NEVER been churched. I didn’t even know who Jesus was. I am still waiting for a deep revelation of God’s love in my heart. I love Him with all mine because of what He has done in my life but I want to know His heart now more than His hand. He has given me so much that I am forever grateful and love Him for but I want it deeper than that. Just typing this is bring me to tears.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Thanks for leaving the note here. I’m praying for you right now. 🙂
      Our journey with Jesus is one of faith, and because He is growing us in our faith, we don’t always feel or sense His Presence with us strongly. We know He is with us because we believe His Word is true and He says He is with us always.
      But times of feeling dry have another benefit, and that is, we have an opportunity to focus on Him in a special way.
      So embrace His goodness and don’t allow discouragement to creep in to your life with God. What an amazing journey you have had! He delights in every part of it and your heart towards Him.
      I pray that He meets your hunger for Him in a special way.
      May I recommend finding faith-filled teaching to listen to? For example, David McCracken has some podcasts online (check the iTunes store). Your church may have some recommendations – I personally listen to Planetshakers teaching and it helps get refilled. May you be richly blessed as you continue the journey, Andrea.

  4. Andrea Richardson

    Thanks Helen, I am a Planetshaker, that’s why it’s so easy to be filled with faith at church and with my fellowship. It’s when I am away from there but it’s not all the time. Just a season I am in now. Turning my focus to seeking his heart in more prayer and listening to the gospels in an audio bible in my car too. I’m sure this is Gods plan for me to seek Him deeper.

    1. Yes seeking Him at a deeper level sounds good. 🙂 I am SO with you re listening to the audio Bible, I’ve got both OT and NT on APPs now and have particularly enjoyed listening to the accounts of Jesus ministry in the Gospels. Feeling like I’m following Him around watching and listening in, it’s a great, fresh way to encounter God in His Word!

  5. Hey, I’m Phil.

    God bless you Helen for your ministry with these posts!

    The following is a request for prayer.

    I have been on and off depressed for 5 years and my walk with God has never been stable. I am probably the most empty I have ever been.

    The number of times I have tried unsuccessfully in my own strength, but I know even before I try I can’t maintain devotion with God DAILY.

    I know that God is faithful and all the rest, but I can’t shake this being completely helpless and miserable – cannot find work and am in severe need just one of the reasons. All joy in the Lord long, long gone.

    Really appreciate prayer! I know that it works! Thank you for reading and listening.

    May our King abundantly bless you, your family and your ministry!

    1. Hi Phil, thanks for leaving the prayer request! I am believing with you for a significant shift in your situation and life. May His heart touch your heart, His Spirit your spirit and His resurrection power flood you and raise you up, bringing healing in Jesus’ Name.

  6. Since I know, I get inspired and energized through bible study…dryness set in when I missed one or two days in bible devotion with God due to work load, then devil take advantage of that to afflict my prayer life.
    The secret and way out of dryness for me is word study/meditation and long time out with God.
    Proverbs 18:1 KJV
    “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”

    1. Kayode, it is great that you understand the power Bible study has for you to remain connected closely to God. May you be richly blessed as you pursue Him through your study of Scripture.

  7. Hi, I just feel so dry in my walk with Lord and I just feel there is a wall between my prayers. I want to be transformed and renewed.Help me to be strong Lord, give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

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