Praying Psalm 63:1-8: The thirst for God


By Hal Green
Pondering Prayer

Hal Green

If you get thirsty enough, water is all you can think about. My severest thirst occurred during a practice war game in the mountains of Nevada when I was in the Marine Corps. After hours of hiking above 8,000 feet, my legs gave out due to the absence of oxygen. Along with that, I was out of water. Lying on the ground thinking I might die, another Marine casually walked by and tossed a canteen full of fresh water over to me. I mumbled, “Thank you!” Whoever he was, he did not turn around but kept on moving forward to give other Marines the lifeline of water. It was the greatest drink of water of my life. At that moment the curse of thirst gave way to the blessing of water.

We can thirst for God as well as for water. This thirst may be subtler and more difficult to define than the parched mouth of water deprivation. Yet once it is in operation, nothing and no one else but God can satisfy that thirst. Psalm 63 says this most poignantly:

“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. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you . . . My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Ps 63:1-8).


The thirst for God includes the thirst for meaning and purpose, peace and safety, faith, hope and love and all the fruit the Spirit of God alone can deliver. This is the water Jesus promised the woman at the well, including all who would come to him:

If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water . . . Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:10,13-14).

Pray for God to increase your thirst, in preparation for the filling and fulfilling water of the Spirit Jesus came to bring you, as freely as a Marine tossing over a canteen full of water.

(Hal Green, Ph.D., is author of Pray This Way to Connect with God. You can contact him at

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1 thought on “Praying Psalm 63:1-8: The thirst for God

  1. The Holy Spirit is leading me to feel the depths of St. Francis love for this scripture. Perhaps was my prayer left in Assisi five months ago. Beautifully written and spirit-filled.

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