Earlier this week I returned from a church camp (mostly young gen) in North Thailand where the theme was ‘Hunger for God’s Glory’. They did more than listen and take notes; they put words and actions to their hunger for him. Anyone with a prayer connection to this nation would have been moved at the sight and sound of Thai teenagers expressing passionate, wholehearted hunger for the Lord. They prayed it, sang it, shouted, knelt in silence, wept, offered him ‘leaps of longing’ and consecrated themselves to live hungry for his Glory.
We believe hunger for Christ is important, but is it necessary to express it?
We’ve all received the fullness of Christ, but none of us is experiencing him fully. And in a lifetime we won’t, but we keep reaching for more. In the measure that he is known by us, he becomes known through us.
James 4:8 is more than a call for God’s people to step away from sin; it’s a call to step towards him (to draw near, Heb 10:22, 4:16): “Come near to God and he will come near to you”. Hunger for God influences what we say YES or NO to (4:7). The joy of submission (to God) and strength for resistance (to the devil) rises with our steps towards the Lord. And signs of our hunger affects him. As we step towards him, he leaps towards us.
Although the step of hunger is an act of our will, it has its beginning in him. The Lord is the great Enabler of our every hunger expression. His Spirit of grace frees our hearts to want him more and energizes our wills to keep reaching for him. By expressing hunger for him, we move along a passageway of freedom opened by him.
Hunger for the Lord is based in belief, but it needs expression. The heart that pants for him wants a voice Psalm 42:1. Praying our hunger is primary, but we can add other actions to express the hunger agreement in “heart and flesh” Psalm 84:2. That’s what was happening at the camp: a few hundred Thai teenagers believing it’s important…… and hungry enough to express it.
When hunger for Christ becomes a corporate pant by a group reaching into him together, we can’t imagine the impact it has in heaven or on earth!
We’re learning to pray hunger for the Lord as a lifestyle. Every Scripture reading, sermon or song, any event or activity, and every day’s plans and surprises form part of the Spirit’s school of training us in desire for the Lord. The course is endless. No completion, but the joy of progress: more and more and more of knowing him!
- Look at Scripture passages you have read over the past two days. Mark any verse or verse-portion that says something (directly, or informs) about the Lord (his Glory).
- From the above, select one truth about him to focus your prayer of hunger on. Scan your inner reservoir (or a concordance) for other scriptures that carry the same emphasis.
- Use the scriptures to write a prayer of hunger for the Lord. Include in it:
- Why that aspect of his Beauty draws you and why you desire to go deeper.
- Gratitude for that Beauty in him, and thanks for the freedom to see it
- How it affects you (your feelings towards him, and your praise of him)
- Tell him of your desire to see that Beauty in a deeper way, and be changed by it.
- Plan ongoing steps of hunger around that focus:
- schedule specific prayer time for it
- add related scriptures to your hunger reservoir
- include actions that help express your “heart and flesh” hunger for the Lord.