“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).”
This beautiful prayer is at the very same time a lament, a cry from the depths rooted in pain, and a profound expression of hope, embedded in the knowledge that the steadfast love of God is greater than life. The Psalmist cries out in pain, a pain that compels him to seek the Lord. And he cries out in hope, knowing that God is exceedingly good. Look again at the tender words of the prayer: “My soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land…” The Psalmist does not cry out for God’s gifts or God’s blessings. No, the Psalmist cries out for God.
We who are Christians can, like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, grow so duty-bound that we forget that God first simply wants to love us and know us. Yes, God has a work for us to do. Yes, God has a mission to which he has called us. But our faith is first and foremost a participation in the steadfast love of God. And prayer is first and foremost a communion with the One who created and called us and who has redeemed us to be his own.