Advent Longings

Read: Psalm 122

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity. (vv. 6-9 NIV)

Our Advent longings are shaped by our needs. Yet, many of us remain disconnected from our needs. A busy executive goes all day without a meal, living off of coffee refills. A stay-at-home mom collapses on her bed at midday, exhausted after a week without a break. At some point, we awaken to a hidden longing for space or security, connection or comfort, refreshment or rest.

The Psalms reveal our deepest needs if we listen carefully. Do you hear them? I hear needs for security, peace, assurance, solidarity, connection, and more. And perhaps you, like me, can relate to these needs. As I write these words, I’m in a busy season, longing for rest, desiring peace, hungry for connection with my wife and kids, let alone my God. What are your needs? Can you imagine God receiving them, just as God receives the deep needs of the psalmists?

When we express these deep needs, we’re participating in Advent longing. We are trusting that God is better at this than we are, and so we’re rejecting self-sufficiency as a way of coping. It’s an Advent practice that might just shape our prayers for the whole year. —Chuck DeGroat

As you pray, confess your self-sufficiency and express your longings for rest, refreshment, peace, security, and connection.

About the Author

Chuck DeGroat

Chuck DeGroat is the Professor of Pastoral Care and Christian Spirituality at Western Theological Seminary. He is committed to spiritual and emotional formation for the sake of mission. His experience is represented in a fluid combination of pastoral ministry and seminary training for 20 years. He has served several church plants as a teaching pastor and has started two church-based clinical counseling centers. Most recently, he was a teaching pastor at City Church San Francisco, where he co-founded Newbigin House of Studies, an urban and missional training center with offerings through Western Theological Seminary.