rowboat in fog

Hungry for God’s Word

by Talitha Arnold

What are you hungry for? Chocolate? Ice cream? A big juicy steak? Grilled veggies?

Long ago, the Prophet Amos proclaimed a different kind of hunger, one for the word of God. He said his people were in the midst of a famine in their land. “Not a famine of bread or a thirst for water,” he said, but a famine of the hearing of the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:4-6, 11-12)

Amos could have been talking about our time, our land, and our world. Perhaps like you, after the last two weeks of news from Turkey and France, Dallas and Baton Rouge, and all the other violence-racked places of our world, I am hungry for God’s word–

God’s word of peace that this world seems incapable of offering.
God’s word of love that can overcome all the hate and fear.
God’s word of hope that pushes back the despair.
God’s word of courage to trust that peace, hope, and even love are still possible.

How do we hear that word? Turning off the news, at least for a while, is one way. The world and its news will still be there when you turn it back on.

Joining with others in worship to give thanks and raise our voices in song is another way. So is taking time for prayer, on Sunday mornings and throughout the other days of the week as well.

But how to pray in such a time? Here’s a prayer from the United Church of Christ Book of Worship to get started:

Jesus said, “You ought always to pray and not faint.”
God of heaven and earth, help us not to pray for easy lives;
But pray to be stronger women and men.
Help us not to pray for tasks equal to our powers,
But for power equal to our tasks and your work.
So that the doing of your work in our world will be no miracle—
But our openness to you and your power will be the miracle.
And every day we will wonder at ourselves and the richness of life
That has come to us by the grace of God. Amen.

Another one:

Dear Lord,
We pray for all the children entrusted to our care
and those throughout the world. Be good to them.

The sea is so big,
and their boat is so small.

When we don’t have the words to pray, when we can’t will ourselves not to worry, when we are famished for God’s word, the prayers of others can feed our deep hungers. I hope you’re hungry enough to join in worship and prayer tomorrow. And if you can’t be there, I hope you will take time to offer these or other prayers for our time. Lord knows this hungry world needs them.