Passion: Longing for God

If you’re like me, you go through periods of your life that you don’t feel as close to God as you would like.  Keith Green said it well in the introduction to his song “Make My Life a Prayer to You” when he said that it’s not so much anything he’s doing (as in sin) but the things he’s not doing.  I know I should read the Bible, spend more time in prayer, be more excited to go to church and worship God, and exemplify the faith of a true believer more throughout my daily life.

Psalm 42:1-2 says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for the living God.”

My college president Dr. Mark  Rutland spoke about that verse during a chapel service one time and I’ll never forget it.  Most of us have heard this verse plenty of times in sermons and in songs, and we know it presents the idea of longing for God.  But what do you do when you’re not feeling that kind of passion?  What if, being honest with yourself, you can say that you are not longing for God?  He said that your prayer can be “God, I want to long—to long for you.”  We can ask the Holy Spirit to help give us the desire to draw closer.

I try to find any practical thing to help me.  I might try to read the Bible in a different version so it seems a little more fresh to me.  I will change my routine of when or where I pray.  Just sitting outside or finding a new spot might prepare my mind.  Sometimes I’ll write my prayers out and that helps me focus—and I find that my prayers come out a little differently.  I also try to set themes in my prayers such as praying for a cause, or focusing only on being thankful for all God has done.

Getting involved and volunteering is also a good way to revitalize your spiritual life.  When you serve you’re thinking of others and praying for them which focuses your spirit.  Try attending a mid-week service, small group meeting or other special event for a change of pace.

Since music is so powerful, I have some go-to songs that always inspire me.  One of them is U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” the live version with a choir they recorded on Rattle and Hum.  It gives me chills every time.  It makes me think about religion and ritual and how we may have been around the Church for a long time, but what we really need is an encounter with the living God.

What are some ways you’ve used to spark your passion for God again?

 

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About Scott Phillips

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Galatians 2:20 View all posts by Scott Phillips

5 responses to “Passion: Longing for God

  • Jared Lanza

    Recently, fasting has been something that has ignited my passion for God. At the beginning if the year, our church began a 21 day fast called the Awakening Fast. Many churches around the world participate. It was very challenging. I’ve never done anything quite so focused spiritually. It was a great time of channeling my focus to God and I found myself craving time with God everyday. More than I craved the food I wanted to eat. My soul got something it hadn’t had in a LONG time: unadulterated and undistracted connection with God. It was great. I found myself a more patient and compassionate man. I felt charged.

    One warning. When you break the fast, and eat the things you so desperately missed, like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, it can be easy to lose track of time and not spend any with God. It’s almost like the grease coats your soul and obstructs it from receiving or sending signals to and from God. It’s not the food, obviously, but the lack of sacrifice that produces the focus to be with God regularly.

  • Erika Hastings

    Getting outdoors and digging in the garden has made me feel incredibly close to God and His creation. It also gives me a chance to share his creation with others. Watching seeds sprout to become little seedlings to grow into plants that will one day produce fruit with seeds of their own…who told the little seed to start growing? And who could doubt God’s perfect plan for us after seeing that perfect life cycle knowing that God cares so much more for us?

  • thechurchinthemirror

    Good thoughts. Fasting is almost a lost spiritual discipline these days – and will be the subject of a future post. :)

    Getting into the earth and God’s creation is a great idea, too. Donald Miller on his blog talked about a church that would do field trips for their services: one time they went to a farm where they had a farmer discuss sowing seeds in relation to one of Jesus’ parables. Stuff like that can make the Bible come to life more.

  • Jared Lanza

    I recently wrote a post on my blog that touches on how God can become more real to us, and in turn create a deeper longing for him. Check it out:

    http://regardinglefty.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-existence-of-god/

  • thechurchinthemirror

    Funny, I was just gonna tell Erika to read your blog since that’s exactly what it’s about. :)

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