"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)."After sixty-three years of life and thirty-eight years of priesthood, my prayer seems as dead as a rock … The truth is that I do not feel much, if anything, when I pray. There are no warm emotions, bodily sensations, or mental visions. … The words darkness and dryness seem to best describe my prayer today …. Are the darkness and dryness of my prayer signs of God's absence, or are they signs of a presence deeper and wider than my senses can contain? Is the death of my prayer the end of my intimacy with God or the beginning of new communion, beyond words, emotions, and bodily sensations?"
Henri J. M. Nouwen was trained as a Roman Catholic priest and a psychologist, attending Yale, Harvard, and Notre Dame. He has authored over twenty books, including “Genesee Diary,” “The Wounded Healer,” and “The Road to Daybreak.” He is a modern day contemplative whose devotional influence has been felt extensively throughout evangelical Christianity.
"Henri Nouwen wrote those words during the final year of his life. … Nouwen might have taken encouragement from the conclusions of Thomas Green, a specialist in prayer and the spiritual director of a seminary in the Philippines. Dryness, says Green, is the normal outcome of a life of prayer. Drawing a parallel with human love, Green charts out three stages in a healthy prayer life.
In the courtship period, we get to know God; in the honeymoon period we move from knowing to loving; in the long years of day-by-day married life, we move from loving to truly loving. As any married person can tell you, the final stage of mature love involves more tedium than romance, and the same applies to a relationship with God. Thus a season of dryness in prayer may signify growth, not failure, says Green." - as quoted by Philip Yancey
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Thomas H. Green, S.J., (1932–2009), received his training in philosophy and theology at Bellarmine College and Woodstock College and earned advanced degrees in education and physics from Fordham University, and a doctorate in the philosophy of science from the University of Notre Dame. He was an internationally recognized teacher, mentor, and author, best known for his classic works on prayer, including Opening to God, When the Well Runs Dry, and Weeds Among the Wheat.