The site received a comment from another Peter today. Let me quote, respond and perhaps you’d like to join in?
I was wondering do you ever go through low times during your preaching? It feels like sometimes I am preparing sunday school lesons and bible study classes for the youth at my Church and then when I preach I spend a lot of time studying, but then there are times where I just feel low. Kind of like I am spending so much time trying to help others that I feel empty myself. Any sugggestions on getting through these kinds of times? I probably didn’t even ask that well but just wondering if you ever go through times like this?
In a word, yes. I think all preachers, indeed, all believers, go through times where they feel spiritually dry in comparison to other times. So much could be said about this, but I’ll leave plenty of space for others to add their comments. A couple of thoughts from me:
Prevention rather than just cure. This kind of situation can be partially prevented to avoid it happening so often. There is a danger that comes from relying on ministry preparation for personal spirituality. I am not of the opinion that we should separate ministry preparation from devotions to the extent that one is cold and professional, and the other personal. Ministry preparation should be working in us before it comes through us to others. However, to lean on this giving out can easily push us over a point at which we are not ministering out of the overflow of a full personal spirituality, but from an emptying tank. Good relational habits are important – not cold disciplines in which boxes get ticked in a daily diligent diary of dutifulness, but healthy interaction with God in a daily love relationship . . . reading His Word, communicating with God in prayer, responding to God in worship, etc. As well as the vertical relationship, we also need to recognize the value of genuinely stimulating horizontal relationships. All of this can go so cold in ministry . . . a growing distance from God and a lack of genuine relationship with others that is spiritually stimulating (much easier to just give, give, give).
Cure too. Is there a cure to spiritual dryness? In simple terms I would suggest repent, return and respond. Repent of your sinful tendency to lose sight of the relationship, return to the fullness of what it means to be in Christ, in relationship, (not through a duty-driven behaviour that tries to fix things from the outside in), all in response to His love for us. We love because He first loved us, so we often need to expose ourselves to the attractive power of that love demonstrated on the cross. Solutions that are focused on ourselves seem to be missing the point. We go dry because we lose sight of Him, so looking to ourselves is not the solution.
Other reasons? There can be multiple factors related to this critical issue. Tomorrow I’ll raise a couple more . . . anything you would add?