Why ‘praying your desire’ works

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Desires are yearnings or longings – they’re what our heart needs, to be whole. For example, the desire for freedom or worth or belonging or approval or recognition. And when you’re empty of one of them; when you don’t get it – like if you’ve been rejected all your life, and you’ve never received acceptance; it will skew all of your behaviour towards getting acceptance. That’s the power of desire.

It’s like the desperate grasping of a person who’s drowning – for anything, that he thinks will enable him to get the air, for which he longs. In that moment of desperation, you can even drown your rescuer, to pull yourself up for air. When we’re in the grip of an unmet desire, we’ll do things that we’d never otherwise do, in order to get our desire met. This explains some of the sin problem: if you’ve ever fought against something where you find yourself saying, ‘I can’t overcome this; it’s too big’; often times your will is fighting against the desire. And when that happens, desire always wins (St. Paul describes this in Romans 7). The Christian life can’t be lived simply out of will power.

So, when you lack a desire, it tends to become this overwhelming drive and you start to align your whole life around it. And we’ll do some pretty stupid stuff to fill that hole. When somebody has an affair & blows up their marriage, or when a person in ministry does something really stupid and destroys their ministry, a lot of times what you can track that back to is this. There’s a deep unmet desire in their heart and it got so big, they were willing to do stuff that they would never otherwise have done, to fill that hole.

How then, do we solve the problem of unmet desire? By being filled! We were created for our desires to be filled in our relationship with God; moment by moment – He wants to fill all of our desires. Desire filled (rather than will) is the engine – the power source that enables you to live the Christian life. You can’t live the Christian life, without having your desire filled, because you weren’t designed for your heart to be empty. The problem is not that your desires are bad. The problem is not that you want something. The problem is that you want something and you don’t have it – that you’re empty.

Think of it this way – if you had all the love & acceptance & belonging that you ever wanted, how tempted would you be to go after an unhealthy relationship? Not very much. Or if you’re totally overjoyed with life; if you’re feeling great; if you’re really happy that day, how big is the temptation to go out & get drunk and dull the pain? Well, it’s not even there! So, the principle here is: when my heart is full, it’s easy to live the Christian life; when my heart is empty, it is a royal pain – to live the Christian life. So, we want to operate out of fullness and not out of emptiness.

This is why praying your desire works. Praying your desire is a way for Jesus to fill those deepest longings, in a few minutes; and he does it for free! And that’s what’s so powerful! You were designed to be filled by God. And praying your desire is the easiest way I know how to experience that. I find that it helps me grow in loving from the heart, because when I allow God in his love to fill my desires, I am free to approach others from this place of fullness, rather than out of need. For example, I can reach out to others in love to touch their desire to be understood, rather than needing them to respond to me in a certain way, to fill my own need for understanding.

The ‘Questions for Jesus’ e-course is a very hands-on experiential course, which will give you a great taste of experiencing the power of praying your desire, while also giving you tools to help others. To find out more about when the next course is being run, email us here .

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