AS THE DEER PANTETH FOR THE WATER                           written in 1984

The Story

Marty Nystrom (1956 – ), a 24-year-old schoolteacher in Seattle, WA, wanted to get to know a young woman a lot better. Since she was going to be at a school in Dallas, TX, that summer, he decided to enroll in the same 6-week program.

But, after arriving in Texas, he discovered things were not going to work out with the young woman, and he was stuck in a program he didn’t want to be in… during a very hot, Dallas summer. Since Marty was both broke and heartbroken, a roommate decided he should go on a fast to get his priorities straightened out again. So Marty did. During that fast, all he ingested was water. He says of that time, “To be honest, I could not say my soul thirsted for more of God.”

But, as he fasted, he noticed his earthly desires and physical lusts began to wane. His spirit became more and more hungry for communion with God. After fasting for 19 days, he sat down at a piano in the men’s dorm. A Bible was open on the piano. It was open to Psalm 42, so Marty began to sing through that psalm. He remembers that day: “God gave me a melody for Psalm 42:1. I just began to sing right off the page… literally.”

10 years later, Marty was in Seoul, Korea, attending a worship conference that had attracted 100,000 Koreans. To open the conference, that huge audience sang Marty’s song… this song.

The Song

             Read this praise song, and – today – evaluate your own desire to be in God’s presence.

As the deer panteth for the water,

so my soul longeth after Thee;

You alone are my heart’s desire

and I long to worship Thee


You alone are my strength, my shield;

to You alone may my spirit yield.

You alone are my heart’s desire

and I long to worship Thee.


You’re my friend and You are my brother

even though You are a King.

I love You more than any other;

so much more than anything. (Chorus)


I want You more than gold or silver;

only You can satisfy.

You alone are the real joy giver

and the apple of my eye. (Chorus)


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