For the past thirty minutes I’ve been meditating upon the prophet Jeremiah’s mournful cries in the book of Lamentations. There’s a strong sense of hunger and desire within these laments; a hunger and a desire for the presence of God.
I’m wondering how hungry we in America really are. I know we’re hungry for cheese burgers and happy meals and pizza, but I wonder how hungry for God’s presence we are. We often see “signs” of our hunger in our inability to set aside serious time to seek the face of the Lord. I wonder how grieved the Lord’s heart is? Listen to the prophet Jeremiah’s thoughts…
“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.” – Lam. 2:19 ESV
Wow. Notice the outright longing for God’s presence in this verse? Notice how this hunger should lead to regular intercession in the night? Notice how the longing is expressed to God through the pouring out of our heart’s like water before the Lord? That simply means that in the same way that water flows in a river our longing should flow before the Lord.
Oh how I want you in my life, Lord. And yet I daily give evidence that I only want you a little. Lord, help me to long for you like Jeremiah longed for you!
What’s also concerning is that I see no one in my direct sphere of influence that longs for God with this type of heart. Sure, a few people will gather here and there to pray, but there is no serious hunger for the Lord like this. Oh how we need the Spirit to come and inflame our hearts!
And I can’t help but notice that Jeremiah’s longing was connected to a concern for the children of his people. Does anyone really long for the presence of God and for the lives of our children? I hear a lot of talk and see very little action. I’m afraid more of us play “church” and play “Christian family” than actually take seriousness the call and responsibility of parenting and raising children in a community of believers. In Jeremiah’s day, children were starving. How much more so in our day?
Again, we need you Lord. You know this. Please, stir our hearts up and inflame us with conviction and grant us repentance! Give us faith to trust You and to trust Your Word! Help us to find our satisfaction in You alone! May we please Your heart as we pour ours out before You because we so long for Your presence!
Thank you for Your mercy, Lord. You are ever faithful. Amen
Luke, I’m going to be up front honest with you. Many nights God has awakened me to pray. It seems to be much easier to pour out my heart to him in the stillness of the night or when I’m all alone. I do think there is a distraction for people when praying together for some reason. It’s not like when it’s just you and God. I am burdened now more than ever for people to pray. The times we live in call for it. Especially for our children. But who is it that calls us to pray anyway? Isn’t it God who does the drawing? We do need to position ourselves, but God knows those who are willing. I have certainly had times of failure in this area too. I have asked God many times to move people to pray. I talk about prayer to people, I encourage people to pray, I invite them to prayer times. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So maybe I need to speak the word directly to affect or move people to pray. Ultimately it is God who does the moving of hearts. Oh God, here our prayers.
it must have been really depressing at times for jeremiah. just imaging having to give those words and have those people respond the way they did, basically ignoring his warnings.