May 4, 2020

“My soul is thirsting for the living God”
Psalm 42

“O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water”
Psalm 63

“Jesus mets us time and again,
in the place of our deepest thirst.”
Be Healed by Bob Schuchts

In recent weeks the psalms have been my companions. I know that many others in these lockdown days have shared my renewed attraction to these ancient prayers of people of faith.

When I don’t know what or how to pray the psalms can do if for me with words of rejoicing, thanksgiving and praise and heart-felt cries of communal and personal lament.

The psalms are prayers of the heart, and can only be prayed from the heart.

Monastics around the world pray the full 150 psalms of the church every week, and in the regular Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office / Breviary) many people follow the four-week psalter of daily prayer as it companions us through all 150 psalms every month.

Many of the psalms tell of our human longing, yearning and hunger for God. Today’s psalm (and a number of others) is for people who are parched by the trials of life and from their depths, their souls, they “thirst for the living God”.

The psalms were first prayed by people who were living relationship with God intensely (which is the only way to live any valued relationship).

The psalms were known by heart by Jesus and prayed by him.

Today the psalms are the perfect prayers for us who need to express to God every extreme of emotion, and struggle to find the words.

Whenever we pray the psalms we are not alone but united with every person who prays these prayers in our own time and across more than twenty-five centuries.

People who see God as useful for a bit of a hand every now and then will quickly tire of the psalms. The psalms are too full-on, too passionate, too heart-felt, too all-or-nothing.

If my prayer is for fine weather for an afternoon stroll I won’t pray “Out of the depths I cry to you O God, Lord hear my voice…”. But that’s exactly what I might pray if I am about to lose my farm because of a several-year drought and the banker is at the door threatening eviction.

The psalms are only prayed by people who have faith, people who at least admit that God is present and interested and able to help. There are no atheists in foxholes.

In the same way that the psalms only make sense to people who are striving to live fully (abundantly – ref. yesterday’s post) in relationship with God. The Christian faith only comes alive when my thirst for Christ is deep enough.

An Invitation:

  • Use Google to search for a psalm that expresses your need, ie Psalm when …
  • Today’s scripture readings at this link.
  • Liturgy of the Hours can be found at this link.





Today’s pic, St. George’s Seatoun, Wellington. Thanks Michael.
Pictures received of any of your local churches will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to

Monday Easter Week IV (15 minutes)

Monday Easter Week IV  (25 minutes)



  1. Thank You Fr.John for stirring my Spirit to focus on the Psalms Over the coming winter months.

  2. Great reflection as always…. I’m amazed at how often the Psalms fit with where I’m at or where a friend might be on any given day…… and how they can spring board a much deeper conversation with God.

  3. The psalms are my lifeblood. They are soul music.

  4. Amen

  5. My favorite Psalm 16-1-2a
    I Set the Lord ever before me even in the night my heart exhorts me,
    I set the Lord ever before me with body too abides in confidence With esHim at my right hand I shall not be disturbed
    Keep me safe O God , you are my hope. Therefore heart is glad and my God Rejoices…………..

  6. My favorite Psalm 16-1-2a
    I Set the Lord ever before me even in the night my heart exhorts me,
    I set the Lord ever before me with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
    Keep me safe O God , you are my hope. Therefore heart is glad and my soul rejoices.
    My body too,abides in confidence because You will not abandon my soul……….

  7. I find the Psalms are best prayed when sung and few settings surpass those by Joseph Gelineau for their beauty and simplicity!


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