Thirsting for the Lord

When we're hungry for Him, we'll go to Him.

My soul is like a land without water.
My bowels burned as if with fire.
May my heart burn with the fire of Your love and fear,
Your love and holy fear which knows not how to yield.

  - The Prayers of Moucan, Irish, 8th-9th century[1]

As the deer pants for the water brooks, 
So pants my soul for You, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When shall I come and appear before God?

  - Psalm 42.1, 2

One overarching passion should consume all who have made the Kingdom turn.

This is the passion to know God and Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the presence and power of the Lord. This, after all, is the substance of eternal life (Jn. 17.3). We have been called to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12), and if we have truly heeded that calling, knowing the Lord and His presence and power will be our constant, consuming desire (cf. 1 Cor. 4.20).

I wonder if we can pray the words of the psalmist sincerely? Do we long for the presence of God with a burning thirst that can only be quenched by His living water? Do we seek opportunities, throughout the day, just to grab a few moments with Him? Do we smile and rejoice to see His glory in the world around us? Do we delight in His unfailing faithfulness? Do we give thanks often for His many gifts and blessings?

Or are our best affections wasted on fleeting things?

For many of us, our souls are like deserts, parched and gasping to be irrigated by the waters of reviving grace; yet we are scarcely aware of the drought conditions that obtain there. If only our hearts were like that of the psalmist, “When, Lord? When can I get a few moments alone with You?” 

Moucan understood this. His soul was parched and burning. He prayed that his heart – the seat of all our affections, the “wellspring of all being”, as Edwards put it – would burn with fire from and for the Lord. He longed to love and fear the Lord so much that his soul would not know how to yield to sin, but only to embrace and obey the good and perfect will of God. 

If only that were our great desire and longing as well! 

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you…?” our gracious God demands to know. “[T]o fear the LORD our God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him...” (Deut. 10.12). What God wants from us above all else is that we know, fear, love, and serve Him, our souls on fire with longing to be in His presence, hungry to commune with Him, slaked and satisfied only by looking into the face of Jesus and beholding the glory of God there (2 Cor. 4.6). 

We waste our most sincere affections on matters of merely temporal significance, while love for the eternal God grows dry and dusty, and our souls wither. Our souls thirst for the early and latter rains of God’s refreshing Presence, yet we try to slake this thirst with temporal diversions and material things. We have become sadly accustomed to the drought that parches our minds, hearts, and consciences. We sip from the river of life, when God calls us to plunge in and become immersed in and carried along by it.

Moucan’s prayer would be a good one to memorize, both to begin each day and to offer up to the Lord throughout the day:

May my heart burn with the fire of Your love and fear,
Your love and holy fear which knows not how to yield.

Let us press on to know, love, fear, and serve our risen and reigning King. Seek His presence throughout the day, and find in Him your fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.11).

For reflection
1. How do you experience this thirsting for God? When do you experience it?

2. How can you be more diligent in getting time with the Lord throughout the day?

Psalm 42.1-3 (Nettleton: Come, Thou Fount)
As the deer pants for fresh water let my soul, Lord, pant for You!
Let my soul thirst as it ought to for the Savior, ever true!
Tears by day have been my portion, tears by night have been my food,
While my foes add to my sorrow, saying, “Where now is your God?”

Lord, I do hunger and thirst for You! Help me to satisfy this longing by…

The Kingdom Turn

Have you made the turn into the Kingdom of God? Is seeking the Kingdom your highest priority each day? Are you growing in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit? Is the rule of King Jesus advancing in and through your life? If you have made the Kingdom turn, you’ll know it. If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. Learn more about life in the Kingdom of God by ordering a copy of our book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Many of you are faithful and generous in praying for and supporting Crosfigeell and The Fellowship of Ailbe. Thank you. May I encourage you to seek the Lord about becoming a supporter of The Fellowship of Ailbe? It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe PsalterScripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Davies, p. 305.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore