Friendship, listening, and empathy: A Prayer GuideTwo Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeSabbath Keeping FastingA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationPersonality Type in CongregationsPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Drawing Near to God with the Heart: What do you want?

Lynne Baab • Wednesday March 29 2017

Drawing Near to God with the Heart: What do you want?

What do you want? Not what do you wish for, what do you fantasize about, what have you added to your list of priorities, but what do you want? What do you long for? What makes your tongue hang out like that of a thirsty deer? What is your heart’s desire? We don’t often inquire that deeply into ourselves, and if we do, we may not listen very closely to the answer. That is because the answer can be frightening. What we want, at the core of our being, often will take us out of the set paths of our lives and those of society. We want the thing that is no thing; we want what cannot be gotten by any effort or kept by any attentiveness or displayed for any admiration. We want God. David Rensberger, “Thirsty for God”[1]

This is the second to last post in the series “Drawing Near to God with the Heart.” For my weekly readers, I hope the series has made you think about the way you engage your heart as you seek to draw near to God with an attitude of love and obedience. When we think about our deepest desires, as reflected in the words above by David Rensberger, we are connecting our hearts with our faith.

So many of the current trends in Christian spirituality reflect the significance of the heart:

  • God in nature - Many Christians today talk and write about God’s presence in nature in a sensory way that draws them in a profound way to both worship and creativity.
  • Sabbath - Many Christians find Sabbath-keeping a way to integrate God’s call to service with God’s call to live simply as a creature dependent on God’s grace.
  • Benedictine and Celtic spirituality - Increasingly, Christians enjoy the utter simplicity of the Benedictine pattern of a rule of life, as well as the holistic faith expression of Celtic Christian spirituality, where God’s presence is experienced in all of life, and all the diverse bits and pieces of life are integrated into one whole.
  • Meeting God in the arts - Christians are discovering or rediscovering the significance of the arts as a way to engage non-cognitively with truth.
  • The significance of the Holy Spirit - God’s daily presence through the Holy Spirit also relates this theme of God’s call to experience him with our hearts, our souls, our whole being.

As you seek to love and follow God, may this prayer from the hymn “Be Thou my Vision” be real to you:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

This is the eighth post in a series about Drawing Near to God with the Heart. Previous posts:

Introduction: Drawing near to God with the heart         
God woos us          
A journey with the Psalms           
Praying the Psalms       
God's presence through the Holy Spirit          
Facing the inner darkness         
All will be well           
Longing for heaven         

(Next week you’ll have a treat. Seventeen years ago I interviewed my husband, Dave, about the ways his faith had moved to his heart in recent years. His thoughts are still so relevant today. Illustration by Dave Baab. If you’d like to receive an email when I post on this blog, sign up under “subscribe” in the right hand column. This post is excerpted from my book, A Renewed Spirituality: Finding Fresh Paths at Midlife, available in paperback here and on kindle here.)

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