Last week my husband and I attended the Brooklyn Tabernacle Tuesday night prayer meeting. After more than an hour of praise, worship and prayer, Pastor Jim Cymbala spoke on a scripture that I frequently use when praying for others: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6). The word "blessed" means happy or joyful, and he mentioned that the verse says more than we are happy after we are filled, but that we have joy while we hunger for spiritual things.
Despite the joy we have when we have a passionate desire for God, it's easy to yield to "the desires for other things [that] enter in and choke the word" (Mark 4:19). The weakness of our hunger for God is often because we keep occupied with "other things."
John Piper wrote in A Hunger for God, "The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night."
"Other things" can also be duties that demand our attention. One mother told of her struggle to pursue God while she was rearing her family. There were times of sickness and trial when limited time and strength drained her prayer practices. However, on more than one occasion, she would fall by her bedside at the end of a long day and ask the Lord to keep the desire for Him alive in her heart. God honored her soul thirst because she recognized the danger of losing her longing for Him.
Dear Lord, help me to hunger and thirst after righteousness for nothing is more important to my spiritual growth.
"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (Ps. 84:2).
"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple" (Psalm 27:4).
If you are on Facebook, I invite you to pray along with Arla's 40-Day Prayer Challenge. Each day is a video of her praying scripture on a specific topic. Topics covered have included praying for healing, parenting, joy, protection, praying for others, forgiveness.