I believe that we are creatures of desire. God created us to desire. Our primary desire should be for Him, of course, but there are other things we desire. We desire peace, provision, health, relationship, and more. Some people suggest that we shouldn’t desire anything, that we should just give everything over to the Lord and walk a life of trusting response. I don’t think that’s what God intended.
In fact, I would suggest that prayer is a wonderful affirmation of our desire. No, I don’t believe that petition is the primary purpose for prayer, but I believe it is one of the purposes. Throughout Scripture God invites, even commands, for us to bring our desires to Him. Even the Lord’s illustration prayer expresses desire for forgiveness, provision, protection, and more. These are certainly not wrong things.
Nor is it wrong to take the things of this life before the Lord. If you need a job, pray. If you need healing, pray. If you need guidance, pray. This is what is supposed to happen. Prayer is supposed to be a normal and regular part of our daily life, partly because our lives are filled with desires.
Let’s say it this way: desire is simply the expression of the feeling that something is lacking or needful in our lives. Feelings are real for us. We may suffer distortion of our feelings because of the way our flesh has been programmed, but they are still our feelings. We feel hungry. We feel afraid. We feel lonely. We feel frightened. In those times we have needs. It is good and right that we should take those needs to the One who loves us and is wise enough to give us what is right.
Never forget that we were made to be dependent. As long as we try to live independent from the Lord, we will feel an emptiness that this life cannot fill. That lack creates in us a desire. The world, the flesh, the devil—all try to satisfy that desire so that we do not look to the Lord. But none of them can ever meet that need. So we are drawn to Him. That was the way we were made.
Why does that insecurity and need continue in the Christian life? Simply because we are so used to it. It is what has always been and it is natural for us to look to the things of this world first to fill our desires. But it doesn’t have to be that way for us. It is possible for us to live with peace in our hearts and without fear. I believe that is the rest the Lord promises for us. We find it more and more as we look to Him.
But we will never be without desire. That would be to be without need. We will always need Him—even when we have Him. In the days of glory, we will still need Him. Our desires will be completely and forever satisfied, but we will still be who we are. Desire is part of us.