If you’re following Jesus, I’m guessing that you can look back and remember specific times when you have experienced the presence of God, a movement of the Holy Spirit, and/or an encounter with Jesus that was holy and powerful.  For some of us, maybe we get to experience that on a weekly basis as we worship together in our local churches.  Maybe for others, you’ve experienced it at a women’s conference or concert when surrounded by a body of believers.  Or perhaps you’ve experienced it when it’s just you alone with the One who made you, singing at the top of your lungs the perfect song with the perfect lyrics that sound like they’ve been written by Him, just for you.  Or when you’re walking your dog at night and a shooting star glows across the sky, it makes you feel like He’s so close you wonder if you’ll soon feel His breath on the back of your neck.

But then life moves on, things get busy, the world gets loud again, and before we know it, God feels far from us.  We long for that closeness with Him again.

God created us, and He knows that only He can truly quench our thirst which is why these words of Jesus are so powerful and relevant for us still today:

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” – John 7:37-38

We weren’t made to merely worship once a week or attend a conference every once in a while and get our fill.  We were made to thirst for Him over and over and over again!  Maybe you’re reading this today and feeling dehydrated.  So how do we cultivate that thirst?

Jon Tyson recently explained it so simply:
“God comes where He is wanted.” 

Do we want Him?  Like really and truly want Him?  And if we say that we do, do our actions demonstrate that?

I have been asking myself these same questions recently after our oldest son traveled with two of his college buddies for seven hours to attend the Asbury Revival in Wilmore, Kentucky.  I’m sure by now you have heard all about it, but just in case you haven’t, it’s a student-led revival that began when college students spontaneously continued praying and worshiping together after their regularly-scheduled chapel service. Our son shared stories, pictures, and videos that just brought me to tears to see people so genuinely thirsty for Jesus.

And for 16 full days, they didn’t stop.

I’ve heard people say that they are jealous of the Asbury experience. But rather than being jealous, why don’t we cultivate that same thirst in ourselves?  Are our hearts truly thirsty for Jesus?  I don’t want to be like the people Jesus was talking about in Matthew 15:8 when He said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

Recent statistics show that the average American spends 5 hours and 24 minutes on their mobile device each day. And on average, Americans check their phones at least 96 times per day, or once every ten minutes.  (What in the actual world?!)

I’m preaching to myself here, but imagine if instead of checking our phones multiple times a day, we checked our hearts. What if instead of letting our eyes mindlessly scroll social media, we fixed our eyes on Jesus?  What if instead of thirsting for the latest binge-worthy show on Netflix, we were binging on His Word?

James tells us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  And because I’m a practical girl, here are some simple ways I think we can practice this in our daily lives:

  • Rise early, while your house is still quiet, and just be still in His presence.
  • Worship during the day (while on the way to/from work, while folding laundry, making dinner, going on a walk).
  • Set an alarm on your phone for periodic times during the day, and when it goes off, just stop what you’re doing and spend some time praying, thanking God for the simple blessings of your day.
  • Fellowship with other believers (join a small group at your local church or start a Bible study in your living room).  If this feels overwhelming, let us help you!  Join our She Works HIS Way Network here! 
  • Identify what other worldly things you are going to for comfort instead of God, and then lay them down.  The Holy Spirit wants to be our Comforter (John 14:26), but we are going to miss Him if we are going to lesser things for this comfort. Nothing can truly satisfy like He can!
  • Pray with another believer, whether it’s your spouse or a close sister in Christ.
  • Read Scripture out loud.  I know this sounds so simple, but I’ve recently started doing this, and I cannot express the difference this has made in my life.  I feel so much closer to Him when I am speaking His Word back to Him (rather than just reading it to myself)!
  • Say a repetitive breath prayer throughout your day by inhaling one portion of scripture and then exhaling the remaining part.  Some of my favorites are:
    • Inhale, “Speak Lord.” Exhale, “Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9
    • Inhale, “You are the Potter.” Exhale, “I am the clay.” Isaiah 64:8
    • Inhale, “When I am afraid,” Exhale, “I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

One final thought:  There is no guilt or shame or condemnation if you’re not currently thirsty for Him!  But don’t let that separate you from Him. Cry out to God. Tell Him that you want to thirst for Him.  Ask Him to make you crave His Word.  Tell God you want Him more than anything else this world has to offer.  And because God comes where He is wanted, that is a prayer you can be sure He will answer.

Cultivating thirst with you,