Praying About Unfulfilled Longings
Sometimes we think that if we only knew the right prayer or formula, God would answer our prayers. Faith, the attitude of continual and deep-seated trust in God, is clearly a requirement in prayer. Yet it is not a magic formula. Formulas place the focus upon us and what we need to do rather than upon God, the giver of all good gifts.
The questions we must ask are, In what is my faith? Do I have faith that God can provide? Or faith that He will provide? I can have absolute, unwavering faith that He can provide, for He can do anything; nothing is too difficult for Him (Jer. 32:27). But I do not necessarily have absolute conviction that He will grant my desire. My faith is in His sovereignty (He can do anything). My hope is in His love (He does what is best for me).
Ways to Pray
How, then, do you talk with God about your unmet desires?
Be real with God. Like David, you can pour out your heart before God (Ps. 62:8). Be honest with Him about all your desires – even those you may feel ashamed of. He knows them anyway. Lay them at His feet.
Pray for passion. Ask God to turn your passion for your desires into passion for Him. Ask Him to help your desire for Him to surpass all other desires. Pray for a hunger, like David’s, to dwell in His house (Ps. 27:4).
Ask God to purify your desires and devotion. Paul writes, “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
Be on guard against the deceiver’s tactics to stir up desires that distract you from your devotion from God.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). Ask God to write His desires upon your heart so that you desire what He desires. Ask Him to help you believe that His desires for you are far better and more satisfying than yours could ever be.
Pray for thankfulness and contentment with what you have (Heb. 13:5). When I list the many blessings in my life – family, friends, the ability to work, the ability to move and breathe and see and taste, a home, a clear mind, and so much more – I feel incredibly blessed.
Ask for a greater sense of eternity. Pray for eternal perspective on your life and a longing for heaven, your real home. A friend once wrote me: “It has been said that we may be the first generation of people who expect to find fulfillment in the present life. We don’t look forward to eternity.”
Include praise and meditation. Praise God for His ability to do exceedingly more than all we can ask or imagine, for His goodness and loving-kindness, and for the wonderful inheritance that awaits His children (Eph. 1:18-19, 3:17-21). Meditate on God’s Word and His promises that quiet your heart about your longings.
For more information on this topic read: Living with Unfulfilled Longings