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A daily devotional | People of Prayer | A oman with hands folded and looking up to the sky. Daily Devotional | Prayer and Longing

Daily Devotional | Prayer and Longing


If you’ve ever been away from home for a long period of time, you have probably experienced homesickness. We find a similar type of longing expressed in the Psalms. When we are homesick for God we long for past experiences of His presence. Or, we long to be reunited with Him for all eternity in our heavenly home.

In Psalm 63, a Psalm which David wrote while in the desert of Judah, he compares his longing for God to the thirst one feels when “in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (v. 1). As David describes a kind of nostalgia based on past spiritual experience, he speaks of seeing God “in the sanctuary” (v. 2). It is unlikely that David is speaking of seeing God in the literal sense but of the power and glory represented by the services which took place there.

These past experiences set the pattern for David’s life of devotion. In verses 3–4 he expresses his intent to praise and glorify God with his lips. David’s habit of thinking about God “through the watches of the night” serves as a reminder of his complete dependence on God, causing David to “cling” to Him (v. 8).

These descriptions give us a clue to some of the spiritual disciplines that informed David’s prayer life. He mentions three in particular: public worship at the sanctuary, worship through song, and private meditation on God’s character, especially during the watches of the night. These reminders not only instilled a sense of longing for God, they also helped him sense God’s presence when going through great difficulty. Longing for God is both a motivation to pray and a result of those prayers.

>> Difficulties do not have to drive away our sense of God. David wrote these words during a time of great stress in his life (vv. 8-11). When you seek God through prayer during times of trial and difficulty, you may sense His presence in an even more powerful way.

Pray with Us

We crave the sense of Your presence and the intimacy of hearing Your response when we cry out to You. Speak to us through Your Word and the words of Your servants. Unfold Yourself to us so we will know You better through our distress.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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