7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness

      31 Comments on 7 Signs of Spiritual Dryness

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

Why 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. 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. Helen Calder Post author

      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. wildlittlefan

    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. Helen Calder Post author

      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. Janet

    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. Helen Calder Post author

      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
      forever.

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

  4. Jenny

    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. Helen Calder Post author

    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.
    http://www.amazon.com/Covenant-Kingdom-Bible-Mike-Breen/dp/0982452160

    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. Amy Simmons

    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…..:)

  7. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Amy, you have such a sweet spirit, and it is always a pleasure to hear from you 🙂
    I love your analogy of both the rain from heaven, and the water bottle. One speaks of God’s sovereign touch and outpouring on our lives; the other speaks of our responsibility to keep the supply in reserve and to draw from it when needed.
    This reminds me of the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. The wise ones had a spare supply of oil for their lamps. (Matt 25) We do not have to get to the place of emptiness–if we have, we have made a wrong choice somewhere along the way.
    Thanks Amy, I Iook forward to hearing from you again soon 🙂

  8. Harvest Sermons

    It’s reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one who experiences spiritual dryness. When it’s a particularly long “dry spell,” I will heed your tips and advice.

  9. andy

    everything about spiritaul dryness above, is so true,in the life of my self at the moment, ive felt myself gradualy sliding down an immoral slippery path,i never wanted to,,niether do i want t,,i want to serve the lord, but my desire to do so as diminished,, not sure if i can get my self back from this,,please could you help me find my way home

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Andy, I’m sorry to hear of the struggles you have been experiencing. It’s not possible (usually) to get better by ourselves, especially where temptation and sin is involved – that is why God has intended us to live out our Christian lives in a church community. Do you have someone who you can share and journey with? Honesty and accountability are important to breaking free. I pray that the Holy Spirit ministers His life, truth and freedom to you and that you experience His fresh love and anointing.

  10. Ed

    I am empty. Recently I have poured out everything I have. For the last 15 years I have attended a church which has caused me to grow spiritually further than I ever imagined. During this time I have invested more energy than I did in any other church. Unfortunately I am not being fed anymore. I still feel that God has called me to this church but it is not providing the spiritual nourishment that I need. Additionally I am the communications director for a national ministry. I pour into that too. It is important that the challenges I have locally do not interfere with my work on the national level. Would love to get your input.
    Ed

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Ed,
      I can sure relate to your situation. My husband and I have a similar challenge these days. Travelling and ministering, and then when home, having input at our local church, sometimes it can seem like there is no place to receive! And this end of the year I am quite tired.
      We all have different ways to receive spiritually (and mentally /emotionally). My personal strategy right now is:
      – take time for my ‘spiritual pathway’ of being with God in the Great Outdoors
      – take an extra break from ministry when needed
      – next year I am going to attend at least one conference where I can receive input spiritually (not just info)
      – take another look at my devotional habits (change habits to reduce time on smartphone/communication/social media!!)
      -keep fresh current worship music -just signed up to Spotify App
      Having a personal strategy empowers me, waiting for others (e.g. Local church) to feed me is disempowering and makes me feel dissatisfied. Working on that 🙂

      Here is a link to the spiritual pathways info
      http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2010/07/05/how-to-discover-your-spiritual-pathway/

  11. Margaret

    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. Helen Calder Post author

      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 .

  12. Steve

    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.
    Steve

  13. 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. Helen Calder Post author

      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.

  14. 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. Helen Calder Post author

      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!

  15. Philip

    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. Helen Calder Post author

      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.

  16. Kayode

    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. Helen Calder Post author

      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.

  17. Elaine Avila

    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.

Comments are closed.