As The Deer

Album: We Draw Near (1984)

Songfacts®:

  • In 1984 Martin "Marty" Nystrom was a school teacher in Seattle. Since he had the summer off he traveled to Dallas, Texas to spend time at the Christ For the Nations Institute. Marty had an ulterior motive, as he was interested in a girl there. However the prospective relationship didn't work out leaving him feeling heartbroken and regretful over his choice of spending the summer in Texas.

    Marty had a roommate at CFNI who was a very enthusiastic Christian. His friend challenged him to go on a fast, to consume nothing but water as a way to draw himself back toward God.

    Marty recalled to the St. Augustine Record's Lindsay Terry what happened next: "I took up the challenge, and on the 19th day of the fast I found myself sitting at a piano trying to write a song. I was simply playing chord progressions when I noticed a Bible on the music stand of the piano. It was open to Psalm 42. My eyes fell on the first verse of that chapter... 'As the hart (deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.' After reading the verse I began to sing its message, right off the page. I wrote the first verse and the chorus of a song, pretty much straight through. The whole of the adventure was completed in a matter of minutes. I then repeated the song I had just written. I wanted to seal it in my mind."

    "I had no intention of showing the song to anyone," Marty continued. "It was to be for my own devotional time with the Lord. However, before leaving the school to go back to Seattle, I did share it with one person, Dave Butterbaugh. He introduced it to the students of the school and it became a favorite."

    The words and the melody that Marty composed resonated with many. Since the introduction of the song, it has been translated into several languages and is sung in churches worldwide.

Comments: 2

  • Veronica Wolfe from Limestone, MiI just love this song so much and it has a message that I am so very needful of at this time. Praise the Lord for Marty Nystrom having written such a beautiful song.
  • Veronica Wolfe from Limestone, MiSuch a beautiful, meanginful song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Is That Song Public Domain?

Is That Song Public Domain?Fact or Fiction

Are classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the public domain?

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. Televangelists

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.