Desperate to Pray?

Do we hunger and thirst for the Presence of the Lord?

More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day, and in the night nearly as often. So that I would remain in the woods and on the mountain in snow, frost and rain, waking to pray before first light.

   - Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th 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

Patrick was recalling the days just before he fled his captivity in Ireland and made his way back to the west of Britain and his home. He was lonely. He was chastened. And he was desperate to know the Lord in prayer.

God used Patrick’s hard times to bring him to his senses, chide him for his superficial faith, and set him on a quest to know the true and living God. God brought him very low – to poverty, slavery, and intense hardship. But He did not abandon him there. In the depths of his near-despair, Patrick turned to the Lord. God used his circumstances to make him desperate to pray. And when he did, the Lord made Himself and His will known.

Those desperate prayers ignited the spiritual spark of revival and a movement of God’s Spirit in Ireland and beyond that lasted nearly 400 years.

Would you describe yourself or your church as desperate to know the Lord in prayer? Panting and thirsting and longing to be in the presence of God, waiting on Him there, listening for Him, adoring and praising and thanking Him with all your soul?

God promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts. He will show us great things and mysteries such as we have never seen. But only when we’re desperate to pray (Jer. 29.12, 13; 33.3).

Does anyone doubt that the Church today has fallen on hard times? Yet how many of us are willing to commit to the hard work of seeking God for revival?

Every true believer will admit that his faith is not nearly as vibrant and robust as he would like it to be; yet how many of us recognize that prayer is the remedy for a shallow faith and the starting-point of an exceeding-abundant-above-all-you-can-ever-ask-or-think experience of the Lord?

Let’s face it: we don’t pray any more than we do because we do not consider prayer to be as important as whatever else we’re doing with our time. We’d rather sleep than pray. We prefer long hours at work to long moments in prayer. We like our imaginations dulled on the ready-mix cuisine of TV and film, and we are not willing to train the eye of the heart in prayer, so that we can gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and the mysteries of unseen things.

Prayer is hard work; we don’t know how to pray as we should; and we’re content to just keep hoping for the best, without turning desperately to the Lord.

Perhaps God will use our trying and difficult times to bring us even lower, like He did Patrick. He hasn’t written us off; but He is waiting for us to seek Him, diligently, daily, and with determination.

In these desperate times, God is looking for people who will pray. Will He find you to be one of them?

For Reflection
1. Can you think of one thing you might do to improve your time in prayer?

2. Email today’s Crosfigell to a friend, and encourage your friend to seek renewal in prayer.

Psalm 42.1-5 (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?”

Now I pour my soul out in me as these thoughts come to my mind.
And I long to once again be where true worship I might find.
Oh my soul, be not despairing! Hope in God, and praise His Name!
For the Lord, your burden bearing, will restore your peace again.

Lord, I know I should pray more; help me today, O Lord, so that I will…

Don’t miss this opportunity to order copies of A Mighty Fortress for your Christmas gifts. For the next week, we’re offering this book-length exposition of Luther’s hymn at a greatly reduced price. Use this book to get the word out about Christ and His Kingdom!

Thank You
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T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Da Paor, p. 99.

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