How do I read scripture when I’m not feeling the presence of God?

By Rachel Shover

There is a common misconception that we have to come to the Lord with everything figured out. We believe that we have to sit alone and ready ourselves to enter into His presence. That we have to make sure our emotions are running high and the “ability to surrender” to Him is present.  I have no idea where we learned this, but it wasn’t from scripture.

I spent a lot of my Christian walk with this mindset.  Up until my sophomore year of college, I really didn’t know scripture.  If I had an impending question in life, I would flippantly open my bible and land my eyes on a random verse and count it as God answering me through Divine Revelation.  I was never honest before the Lord.  There would be mornings where I only read my Bible to check it off a list, and I would put on an act to try to fool God into believing that I really wanted and desired to be sitting before Him.

What I’ve learned since then is that you don’t have to have it all figured out.  You don’t have to crave and desire to spend time with the Lord in order to do it.  You don’t have to disguise your apathy before Him.  He knows what you’re feeling, He knows that you’re human, and He knows that your flesh is unwilling and weak.

What He wants from you, from me, is for us to be honest with Him and dependent on Him. Psalm 142:2 says, “I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before Him.”


John 4:23b

“The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”


Do not put the burden of always having to “feel” the presence of the Lord on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to feel that pressure. Christ lived a perfect life and died for our inadequacy.  Go to the Lord with the knowledge that you have absolutely nothing to prove.


2 Corinthians 3:4-5

“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.”


Maybe when you sit before the Lord you don’t desire to be there, you don’t feel His presence, and you don’t feel the draw to read scripture. It’s in these times where you can practice your spiritual discipline. Speak scripture over these apathetic moments. Push through the emotional dryness and worship God for who He is, not what He can do for you. Read scripture to know it intimately and deeply, not just to find a quick solution in life.

Tell Him you don’t feel like sitting before Him.  Tell Him you don’t feel His presence. It’s okay to be honest before the Lord. After you pour out your heart, ask Him to lead you in truth and teach you (Psalm 25:5).  Ask Him to give you the strength to combat your flesh.  Know that scripture promises He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and believe it.

This short life on earth is all about believing that truth is ALWAYS greater than emotion and God’s word is ALWAYS greater than our apathy.

If you don’t know what to do now, get before the Lord, preferably with your bible outspread before you, and READ. If you don’t feel like it, ask Him to give you an insatiable desire for scripture and to know Him (Psalm 42), and trust that He hears you. If the emotions don’t come, that’s okay.  Keep reading. Keep praying. Truth is greater.


Psalm 69:32b

“You who seek God, let your hearts revive”

Psalm 119:36

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.”

Matthew 14:23

“And after [Jesus] dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.  When evening came, He was there alone.”

“The mountaintop is an exceptional kind of experience but we have to live down in the valley, where things are neither beautiful nor poetic nor spiritual nor thrilling .. the height of the mountaintop is measured by the drab and drudgery of the valley. We never LIVE for His glory on the mount: we SEE His glory there, but it is in the valley that we LIVE for the glory of God”

– Oswald Chambers


22 comments so far.

22 responses to “How do I read scripture when I’m not feeling the presence of God?”

  1. Leah says:

    Beautiful pictures and an amazing message. So encouraged by this, especially the part about being honest with God. Thank you for sharing Rachel!

  2. Miriam says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  3. Kristi says:

    Very timely and wise. Thank you for sharing and saying yes to the opportunity to share what God has shown you, so others may know it too. So strengthened and encouraged. God bless you! Also, thanks Mary Kate for being so vulnerable with your posts! Go forth in great courage! And always such great pictures!! Keep it up!

  4. Kylee Richter says:

    Thank you for posting this. One of my friends past away a few days ago and before then I really was not feeling the presence of God but after reading this i feel more relieved.

  5. JJ says:

    Just heard a message about pride at church this morning and this post was so complimentary.
    We shouldn’t let ourselves be the ones to get in the way of our relationship with Christ.
    Loved this! I’m also trying to share this topic with my ninth grade girls 🙂

  6. Julia says:

    This was very encouraging, love when you said “worship God for who He is, not what He can do for you.”!! Thank you:)

  7. Julia says:

    This was very encouraging, love when you said “worship God for who He is, not what He can do for you.”!! Thank you!:)

  8. Sydney says:

    “worship God for who He is, not what He can do for you.”. worded so perfectly. This has helped me by knowing how to approach the word as my anxiety builds up about my upcoming mission trip, thank you!

  9. Sabrina says:

    It’s amazing how every post Mary Kate publishes, relates to how I’m feeling at that very moment. Well said Rachel, very eye opening and inspiring.

  10. Linda says:

    Amazing! Especially the first paragraph. Wow??

  11. Lauren Wells says:

    I often forget that God will still love me even when I don’t feel close to Him or I am not immersed in my Bible at a certain moment. Thank you for this, I really needed this.

  12. Hannah Grace says:

    thank you so much. the Lord will always provide, and He shows through this. i haven’t been feeling His presence and this is motivating. especially when you say “if the emotions don’t come…” normally people only talk about if things go according to YOUR plan, and not about what to do otherwise. thank you so much. much love. Hannah Grace?

  13. Coco says:

    The simplicity of how and what she shared is so beautiful. It can be so hard to share something like this in a way that will connect with so many people. I can tell that her heart is so full and her love for the Lord is just shining from within.
    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful message.! 🙂

  14. Breanna says:

    This is beautiful.. and so timely in this day and age. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Bethany says:

    I love that I don’t have to try and fabricate something when I’m in the Word. I can be honest about where I’m at and still come to Him in obedience to be fed by the Shepherd. He knows my heart and I don’t have to try so hard to win His affection even when I’m alone with Him. I already have His affection.

  16. Karissa says:

    So needed this today. Thank you for sharing, and thanking God for this word.

  17. Hannah says:

    What filters have you been using on your ig? I love how you edit you’re pictures!

  18. Amy says:

    Thank you so much! I definitely needed to read this today. It was eye opening and beneficial for me in my relationship with the Lord. I haven’t been “feeling it” lately in my relationship with the Lord, so this was very helpful to read and to know that others go through this.
    On a side note, where did you get your quarter zip from??

  19. Emilie Rudisill says:

    This was so beautiful. Exactly what I needed.

  20. Rachael S says:

    This is such a great post Rachel! A couple of pieces of advice for what has worked for me.
    #1 Read a daily devotional, it helps build the habit of reading the Bible daily. Proverbs 31 is a great online one because you can subscribe to their emails (and it’s free). I also have Suzie Eller’s Come With Me devotional and I really love it (it spends a YEAR walking through Luke).
    #2 It might feel like a lofty goal but keep track of every single chapter of the Bible you read until you have read them all. One of the main reasons it’s hard for a lot of people to read the Bible is because they haven’t read that much of it before … it’s very easy to believe it’s hard to understand, but simply to commit to reading each and every word ONCE. Not studying every word, but just reading it to get those promises of God, those stories that will provide context, all of that into your brain. I have found that watching The Bible Project’s videos on Youtube for each book before I start is AMAZING because they break down everything and point out a lot of stuff that makes the Bible (especially the Old Testament) easier to understand, and they also point out stuff that I either never would have known (historical context) or wouldn’t have noticed (e.g. the way certain stories mirror themselves).
    #3 And of course like Rachel said, pray. Ask God for His help in getting this into your daily routine, He will be happy to help you!

  21. Janet Orgeron says:

    I love this!! Such wise words. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I’m a 56 year old grandmother and retired youth director and I’ve walked with THE LORD since 1989. This article is much needed and relevant in today’s non-stop world. ❤️

  22. Shalandria Thompson says:

    This is the most transparent post I have ever read about spending time with God. I needed this so much. Thank you!!!

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