Thirsty and panting for the Lord

Jason McLeod starts prayer breakfast series as a deer being hunted
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" - Psalms 42, NIV

He really couldn't relate to Bambi. He really couldn't explain it with an old hymn (which he tried with moderate success to sing). Jason McLeod led off the 38th Annual Clinton YMCA Prayer Breakfast with something he could relate to - panting.

Referring to a passage in Psalms about a deer panting for the Lord, the former Georgia Southern football player and now youth pastor at Laurens' Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church, said panting "is ugly, painful and intense." McLeod said he can relate to that kind of panting, because he experienced it during spring football conditioning. "I love football," McLeod said. "Right now, it looks like not much is going on in football, TV has moved on to March Madness. All around the country, football players are into spring conditioning."

Even more than practicing for games, spring workouts are the intense times for football players seeking to succeed in the upcoming season. He said the passage from Psalms (42:1) does not spell this out, but the image of "a deer panting" is one of a frightened animal running for his life. He led the audience in the Clinton High School gym through the scenario - a young buck chased by a pack of baying, desperate hounds. The dogs know if the pack does not catch the deer, no one in the village will eat that night.

The deer runs for his life, his heart all but exploding. Then, leaping and barely making it over a rushing river, it is safe - and the first thing it wants is water. Cool, refreshing water if it is available, but even muddy, putrid water will do. To not drink water at that moment means to die of dehydration.

"Survival instinct is all (the deer) can feel. When it's over, he knows, 'I need water.' The deer will drink water while it is panting. Drinking water while you are panting is really ugly. It's like you're eating the water," McLeod said.

"The two questions you need to ask yourself - this week, as a lot of things are being thrown at you - is 'Are you thirsty?' and 'Are you panting?' Just like the deer (asks), 'I'm alive. Now what?' In the Bible, the people who are successful, not just efficient, for the Lord are always thirsty. They are always on their face in front of God."

The 38th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Clinton Family YMCA and the Clinton High/Clinton Middle Fellowship of Christian Athletes, continues all week at the CHS cafeteria, 7:15 am. The program starts at 8 in the Red Devil gym, and both the breakfast (for a fee) and the program are open to the public. The rest of the week speakers are:

--Tuesday, DeCole Shoemate Robertson, Lander assistant women's basketball coach;

--Wednesday, Adrian Despres; University of South Carolina football chaplain;

--Thursday, James 'Mitch' Mitchell, Duke University;

--Friday, Chris 'Shep' Shepherd, Keep the Change Inc.


For the first time, the Community Prayer Breakfast is being held at Clinton High School, March 7-11, 7:15 am; park in the lot behind the CHS cafeteria, enter off Springdale Drive.

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