Praying for What We Want

Out Hearts are restless FBI’ve just been reading a book by Janet K. Ruffing entitled Spiritual Direction – Beyond Beginnings. Chapter 1 is all about sorting out our desires.

What do we really want? Human and divine desiring is a core feature of the spiritual life. Our desires energize the spiritual quest and lead us to God. Of even greater surprise is the possibility that God longs for us as much as we do for God. Page 9

Some in the Christian tradition warn us that our desires can get us into big trouble so we should control our desires with rational thoughts and disciplined actions. But is it not true that our desiring already originates in God’s desiring?  Quoting Ruffing again:

The mystics strongly assert that our desires, our wants, or longings, our outward and inward searching—when uncovered, expressed, and recognized—all lead to the Divine Beloved at the core. Page 11

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius repeatedly encourages us to “ask God our Lord for what I want and desire”.  When we ask ourselves what do I want and desire it is important to get beyond our conditioned responses. Ruffing offers these questions for further reflection (page 30)

• How do I pray for what I want?
• What internal or external voices do I need to quiet in order to discover my own authentic desire?
• If you continued expressing your feelings, you might eventually arrive at your core desires.

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