I don’t feel anything anymore when I pray, do I love Him less?

Q: I have lost all the emotions that I used to have, and the enthusiasm for doing the things that I used to do. How can I love God again?

+Christ is risen!

Q: I have lost all the emotions that I used to have, and the enthusiasm for doing the things that I used to do. How can I love God again?

Response:

I’m confused as to why it means that you don’t love Him just because of a season of dryness. There are seasons and cycles in the spiritual life, ups and downs. We keep doing what we do because of our love, but love doesn’t have to be translated into emotions all the time. Love is a continual giving of self, not just an emotional high. A married couple may not have the same butterfly feelings daily in their marriage, but that has no translation into whether or not they love each other more or less. They continue to work with one another, to communicate with one another, to sacrifice for one another, and to die for one another. There’s no question of love.

We need to really understand what our asceticism and works are, and what asceticism really is. The acts themselves are not ways to please the Lord. God is not delighted in how much we pray. God is not delighted in how pure we become (in terms of physical acts). There are not a bunch of “things” that God sees and says, “Yo, good job, homie!” No. We do these things in love, and He delights at them when they are acts of love. I pray because I want to talk to God. I don’t pray because God said, “Check in with me daily or I will be upset!” If I stay up in vigil, it’s not because “staying up is holy”, it’s “Lord, I want to be in your presence all night that I can’t sleep!” just like two people in a relationship keep texting until super late at night because they’re excited. If I’m keeping myself pure it’s because I want to be for Him only, the same way that a spouse is jealous for his/her partner.

So, just to be on the safe side, check yourself and sit with your foc and examine whether your understanding of holiness, of God, of your relationship with Him are all sound. If they all are, great! But spiritual dryness is a totally normal thing, and many people understand it because everyone goes through it, even monks and nuns. It is not a measure of your love for God or vice versa.

[recommended reading in comment section]

One thought on “I don’t feel anything anymore when I pray, do I love Him less?”

  1. +

    Recommended reading:
    On Acquisition of the Spirit – St. Seraphim of Sarov
    This quote by Abouna Matta (quoted in Interior Freedom):

    When Christians devote themselves to the spiritual combat, to assiduousness in prayer and the careful observance of other spiritual practices, they can come to feel that this activity and this assiduousness condition their relationship with God. It seems to them then that it is by reason of their perseverance and fidelity to prayers that they deserve to be loved by God and become His children. But God does not want souls to go astray down that false path, which would, in fact, separate them for good from God’s freely bestowed love, and life with Him. So He takes away the energy and assiduousness that threaten them with this loss.

    Once God has taken away the abilities that He had offered freely in proof of His love — these souls are left without strength, incapable of performing any spiritual action, and are confronted with the stupefying truth that they resist believing and persist in seeing as highly improbably: God in His fatherhood does not need our prayers and our good works. At the beginning, they cling to the idea that God has withdrawn His fatherly care from them after they stopped praying; and that God has abandoned them and neglects them because their works and perseverance were not up to the measure of their love. They try in vain to get up from their prostration and mourning and take up their former activity, but all his resolutions go for nothing. And then, little by little, they begin to understand that God’s greatness is not to be measured by the yardstick of man’s futility, that His eminently superior fatherhood chose to adopt the children of dust because of His infinite tenderness and the immensity of His grace, and not in return for the works of man or our efforts; that our adoption by God is a truth that has its source in God and not in ourselves, a truth that is ever present, that persists – in spite of our powerlessness and our sin – in witnessing to God’s goodness and His generosity. In this way, their spiritual lukewarmness leads these souls to revise their concept of God fundamentally, and also their evaluation of the spiritual relations between the soul and God. This profoundly modifies their concept of effort and assiduousness in spiritual works. They no longer consider these things as the price of God’s love, but as responses to His love and fatherly care.”

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