Psalm 63: Praying for Longing


Genre matters. One of the important differences between the Bible’s poetic books – like the Psalms – and the preponderance of Scripture is authorial intent. When we read narrative or the New Testament epistles, there’s often a moral of the story or an idea that’s being presented. Where Paul argues a point, the Psalmist paints a picture. The Psalms give us a perspective, provide context, and hopefully elicit emotion that can be transformative.

Psalm 63 illustrates how David longs for God. This longing is visceral, he describes it as a thirst and explains the various circumstances when he connects to this longing. David describes a desire for God that doesn’t disperse in times of trouble; this longing is persistent and consistent. Unfortunately, we do not always long for God this way. We’re often distracted by our circumstances or led astray by our desires and appetites. Psalm 63 seeks to help us re-orient our desires, our appetite, our thirst, our longing towards God.

Throughout this Summer, we have referenced the Psalms as the prayer book or hymnal of the Church. Some of the early Church Fathers believed Psalm 63 to be so central to the Christian experience that they required it to be sung daily in their congregations. In preparation for Sunday, spend some time in Psalm 63. Read the words not in an effort to properly understand the sentiments of Psalm but for how these words could lead you in prayer and in praise.  

Our weekly worship guide can be downloaded here.


You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.