The Necessity of Prayer Ė Lesson XVI, Prayer and Desire
Websterís 1828 Dictionary defines desire as: An emotion or excitement of the mind, directed to the attainment or possession of an object from which pleasure, sensual, intellectual, or spiritual, is expected; a passion excited by the love of an object, or uneasiness at the want of it, and directed to its attainment or possession. Desire is a wish to possess some gratification or source of happiness which is supposed to be obtainable. A wish may exist for something that is or is not obtainable. Desire, when directed solely to sensual enjoyment differs little from appetite. In other languages, desire is expressed by longing or reaching towards, and when it is ardent or intense, it approaches to longing, but the word in English usually expresses less than longing.
This is where the English language translation can cause a misunderstanding because the desire as used in scripture is more in line with other languages in that it means an ardent or intense longing.
Desire is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing, for achievement.
So in the realm of spiritual things, desire is absolutely essential to prayer.
Desire precedes prayer, desire goes along with prayer, and desire continues after prayer.
Prayer is the outlet of desire.
If prayer is asking God for something, then prayer must be motivated by desire.
The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer.
Without desire, prayer can be a meaningless jumble of words.
This kind of mechanical, formal praying, with no heart or no feeling, with no real desire accompanying it, is to be shunned like a cancer.
Prayer without desire is a waste of precious time, and from it, no real blessings result.
But whether we like to pray or we do not like to pray, whether we have or have not the desire to pray, God commands us to pray.
For God knows our frame, He knows our weakness, and we must pray to overcome our lack of desire.
We ought to pray and not cease to pray and not let our feelings determine our habits of prayer.
But if we do not long to pray or do not desire to pray we ought to pray for desire, we ought to pray for a longing to pray.
A Christian that does not have spiritual desire ought to be convicted and ask God to provide his grace to bring spiritual desire.
Just meditate on Psalm 42:1-2, which begins with Davidís description of his own desire for God.
David was a man after Godís own heart.
As the hart (a stag or male deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth (to long for, to cry, to pant) my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
Why did Davidís soul thirst after God. Davidís soul had great need.
And a sense of need creates or should create, earnest desire.
The stronger the sense of need, before God, the greater should be the desire, the more earnest the praying.
The ďpoor in spiritĒ are the most qualified to pray.
Do not the poor know of their need.
The physically poor always know that they are poor.
Their need is ever before the poor.
Being poor in spirit means that the spirit has needs that only Godís Spirit can provide.
No doubt the Laodiceans of the book of Revelation did not long after God because in their minds they did not have needs.
Listen to what Christ said to them about their lukewarmness.
Revelation 3:14-17, And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
God hates lukewarmness.
Lukewarmness is produced by those who have no needs, by those who do not believe Godís word about their condition.
Learn from your body.
What drives you to eat?
What should drive you to know God and Godís word?
It should be hunger.
Hunger is that sense that prompts a man or woman to eat.
God has put that into us for our well being.
Without a sense of hunger man would perish.
All men and women suffer physical hunger regardless of how rich they are, regardless of the position that they hold, regardless of their age or stamina.
Hunger is that which signals the mind that there is a need that must be satisfied or else the body will cease to function.
Food is desired to satisfy that need.
In like manner, the inward consciousness of spiritual need creates desire, and desire breaks out in prayer.
Desire is an inward longing for something that we do not have, something that we realize that we need.
Something which God has promised, and which may be secured by an earnest request to His throne of grace.