Day 2: Craving God
1. Center Down
Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Our very being…” As you exhale, whisper, “…longs for You, Lord.” This way of breathing and speaking is known as a “breath prayer.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
“As a deer years for streams of water, so I yearn for You, O God. My whole being [nefesh] thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-3, RA)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6, ESV)
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if
indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3, ESV)
For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Righteous Father, we acknowledge You as Yahweh
Yireh (“the LORD will provide”) because we trust You to provide for us. We thank You for watering the earth, causing the grain to grow. You produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. Thank You for nourishing our souls with every word that comes from Your mouth. We are so grateful for Your love. How You care for us! You have given us a new song to sing; a hymn of praise to You. Many will see what You have done and be amazed. They will put their trust in You. We take joy in doing Your will, for Your instructions are written on our hearts. We can’t keep the good news of Your justice hidden in our hearts. We must talk about Your faithfulness and saving power to everyone! All who search for You, Lord, will be filled with joy and gladness in You. You are our Helper and our Savior.
Merciful Father, we know that You are our source for all things. We declare that all of our needs (physical, spiritual, and emotional) are supplied from Your glorious riches which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Therefore, as a Church Family, we confess that we are strengthened through Christ to meet the needs of those who are in need of physical and spiritual nourishment within our community. As a Church Family, we will extend our reach into the global community to reach those in foreign lands who need access to clean water and nutritious food. We confess that Jesus is the Bread of Life and whoever comes to Him will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Him will never be thirsty. Lord, we declare that we will not just rely upon our government to meet the needs of the poor and hungry. We will not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in our power to help them. We will not put off until later what we can do right now. We commit ourselves to give generously and faithfully. We will guard our hearts to keep them tender and compassionate by meditating on Your Word day and night so that we can better discern how to help others.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you a person or person(s) you can help today:
Holy Spirit, help us not to just think about our own needs, but the needs of others around us. Teach us the importance of sharing what we’ve received with others who are in need. Strengthen us as we continue looking for better, more effective ways to minister to the needs of those in our community. Remind us of the Father’s faithful love for us and help us to share that love with those who may have lost hope. Give us a heart to pray for the hungry. Show us ways in which we can collaborate with those organizations who are working to meet the needs of the hungry. Sharpen our discernment and make us more sensitive to the unspoken needs of others. Give us a deeper compassion and a clearer understanding of our covenant relationship with You and with one another.
Gracious Father, forgive those of us for being greedy, selfish, and inconsiderate. Forgive those of us for when we’ve turned a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit when He prompts us to give. Forgive us for being fearful of sharing our financial resources, instead of trusting You. Forgive us for neglecting our spiritual needs and living imbalanced lives. Forgive us for at times wasting food and thoughtlessly misusing our natural resources. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that You have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us of all those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show You names or faces of people that You may need to forgive. As He shows You, say aloud, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in Your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Lord, it is You who rides across the ancient heavens. Your mighty voice thunders from the sky. Your majesty shines down on Israel. Your strength is mighty in the heavens. Your glory is awesome in the sanctuary. There is no one like You, for You are great and Your Name is full of power. Who would not fear You, O King of nations? That title belongs to You alone! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Genesis 22:14, Isaiah 55:10, Matthew 4:4, Psalm 40:3, 8, 10, 16-17, Philippians 4:19, John 6:35, Proverbs 3:27-28, Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 1:2, Matthew 6:13, Psalm 68:33-35, Jeremiah 10:6-7
4. Concepts to Consider
In a world that constantly bombards us with messages that push us toward acquiring and consuming “the next new thing,” “what makes me feel good,” or “what you deserve,” etc., it’s important to understand that, whether we acknowledge it or not, our deepest selves inherently call out to the depth of God’s Presence (Romans 8:16; Psalm 42:7; tehom el tehom ֽתֽהוֹם אל ת֣הוֹם “deep calls to deep”). We were created for personal, intimate connection with our Creator, and there is no lasting satisfaction outside of God.
Augustine (Algerian Bishop, 354-430 AD) wrote in
Book 1 of his Confessions, “Great are You, O
Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and of Your wisdom there is no end. And [humanity], being a part of Your creation, desires to praise You-[humanity], who bears about… [its] mortality, the witness of [its] sin, even the witness that You resist the proud, — yet [humanity], this part of Your creation, desires to praise You. You move us to delight in praising You; for You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first: to call on You, or to praise You; and likewise to know You, or to call on You.” Bishop Augustine rightly observes that human restlessness is not quenched until we “drink from the Well that will never run dry” (John 4:14).
Over these next few weeks pay attention to the dry and thirsty places in your life; the dissatisfied, “thin” and hungry places in your being. These are the places and spaces where God, in His love and grace, desires to “satisfy your hunger with good things” (Psalm 107:9; Luke 1:53). One way we can access this grace is through Christian spiritual practices. So make every effort to… “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food” (Isaiah 55:1-2, ESV).
5. Reflection Questions
(You are encouraged to record your responses to the following inquiries in some tangible, meaningful way, i.e., write, draw, create, vlog/ blog, sing, etc.)
- Personal Reflection: What are the thirsty and hungry places in my life?
- Kingdom Reflection: What are the thirsty and hungry places in my church? In my world? What is one thing I can do to help address this hunger?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture passages you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.