What do you do when your faith seems dry and distant? This thought occurred to me a couple of days ago because I was going through a valley of sorts. My faith in Christ just seemed…distant and dry and rote. In times like this, prayer is difficult as I struggle to say the right words. I would get distracted reading the bible and the words would go in one ear and out the other. Worship was an exercise in ritual (get up, go to church, sing, give, listen, go home). If you've ever been in a spiritual funk like that, you know what I'm talking about.Once in the spiritual 'desert', how does one get out? I have heard several solutions:
- "Pray it through" — Pray and fast until resolution comes
- Engage in heart felt worship — Work on stirring up your heart for God
- Confess your sins and ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle your emotion
- "Be still and know that I am God" — Get more into the word and meditate
The thing in common with all these methods is that they involve me giving more effort; "do more, try harder!" These aren't bad suggestions, but the problem is that my spiritual funk keeps these activities from being fruitful. Try as you might, you can't gin up Holy Spirit activity in your life. The Holy Spirit is not a genie who responds to our rituals.However, I did get into the word, in specific, I turned to Psalm 63…
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
I think the answer, in part, to spiritual funk is to turn to the word, but specifically to recall what God has done for you. To remember his great salvation; to "behold his power and glory." Don't focus on doing more, but focus more on what God has done. I don't think this is a 'magic bullet', but what it does accomplish is it gets us out of ourselves and more into God and his glory.