Whilst out walking early last Saturday, sunshine and birdsong filled the air. I stopped by the Care Home to pray for residents and staff. Then at the post box to pray for people I’m connected with. At the local shop I prayed for those who provide us with food. Have you ever thought of combining your daily walk with prayer? Stopping at certain points to pray for someone or a certain situation. Walking further on, I stopped again. This time surprised to see a deer near the road. When it was aware of me, it soon bolted. I prayed, this time for creation and our responsibility for the planet that God has gifted to us as our home. The sight of the deer was one of the things of gratitude that I recorded in my journal for that day. Psalm 42 begins with the striking image of a deer thirsting for water. Just as water is necessary for life and the deer’s need is urgent, so is God necessary for life and the psalmist’s need for God urgent. The yearning is for the life-giving presence of God. Verse two: ‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.’ ‘Soul’ is better read as ‘self’ or ‘person.’ The longing for God is quenched in and through prayer. However, like the deer, prayer can ‘bolt’ away from us. Tiredness, busyness, forgetfulness can all be factors in our not coming to God in prayer. Likewise, times of crisis, loss of faith, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and depression can also be factors in not coming to God in prayer. The New Testament also speaks of thirst for God (Matthew 5:6) and of God’s. quenching of the thirst (John 4:14; 6:35; Revelation 21:6). Psalm 42 portrays the faithful person at prayer with the companions of both hope and despair present. Do not rely on your feelings to keep you from prayer. Take whatever feelings with you as companions. ‘May I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more clearly, day by day.’ (Prayer of Richard of Chichester) David.