Sermon quotes on desire

Augustine of Hippo (Attributed)

Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.

Augustine of Hippo

The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.

Commentary on the Psalms

Augustine of Hippo

Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in Him.


Edgar Cayce

Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.    

Oswald Chambers

In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is continual prayer.

My Utmost for His Highest

Richard Foster

If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer: Intercession is a way of loving others.

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992)

Abraham Kuyper

It is not your idea, not your understanding, not your thinking, not your reasoning, not even your profession of faith, that here can quench the thirst. The home-sickness goes out after God Himself… it is not the name of God but God Himself whom your soul desires and cannot do without.

To Be Near Unto God


Blaise Pascal

Desire and force between them are responsible for all our actions; desire causes our voluntary acts, force our involuntary.

Blaise Pascal

We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves; we desire to live an imaginary life in the minds of others, and for this purpose we endeavor to shine.

A.W. Pink

Real prayer is communion with God, so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours. What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts, and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him.

A.W. Pink

The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonouring and degading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No, prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best.

Jen Pollock Michel

Desire is primal: to be human is to want

Taken from Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel Copyright (c) 2014 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Jen Pollock Michel

We prefer the not wanting and not having to the losing.

Taken from Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel Copyright (c) 2014 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

James K.A. Smith

What do you want? That’s the question. It is the first, last, and most fundamental question of Christian discipleship….Will you come and follow me? Is anther version of, “What do you Want?” 

You are What You Love: the Spiritual Power of Habit, Baker Publishing Group.

James K.A. Smith

Because we are fundamentally desiring creatures. We are what we love, and our love is shaped, primed, and aimed by liturgical practices that take hold of our gut and aim our heart to certain ends. So we are not primarily homo rationale or homo faber or homo economicus; we are not even generically homo religiosis. We are more concretely homo liturgicus; humans are those animals that are religious animals not because we are primarily believing animals but because we are liturgical animals—embodied, practicing creatures whose love/desire is aimed at something ultimate.

Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation, Baker Publishing Group.

Jeff Manion 

My suspicion is that we have simply lost our way. I suspect that our material longings are more largely formed by our culture than by the Christ and that our spending habits do not differ radically from those who have no allegiance or loyalty to Jesus.


C. S. Lewis

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. 

The Weight of Glory

C. S. Lewis

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Mere Christianity, Westwood: Barbour and Company

C. S. Lewis

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

C. S. Lewis

All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.

John Wesley

In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is continual prayer.

Tom Wolfe

“What is it you’re looking for in this endless quest? Tranquillity. You think if only you can acquire enough worldly goods, enough recognition, enough eminence, you will be free, there’ll be nothing more to worry about, and instead you become a bigger and bigger slave to how you think others are judging you.”

 A Man in Full: A Novel

John Ortberg

The story of the Bible isn’t primarily about the desire of people to be with God; it’s the desire of God to be with people.

God Is Closer Than You Think, Zondervan.

Missionaries Who Love The Arab World

Discipline leads us to desire, which matures into delight.

Live Dead: The Journey

Elwyn Brooks White

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

Jerry Walls

A good God would not create us with the kind of aspirations we have and then leave those aspirations unsatisfied.

Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy, Oxford University Press.

C.S. Lewis

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

The Weight of Glory, HarperCollins, 2001, 42.

John of the Cross

I did not

have to ask my heart what it wanted,

because of all the desires I have ever known,

just one did I cling to

for it was the essence of

all desire:

to hold beauty in

my soul’s


Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, ed. Daniel Ladinsky (New York: Penguin Compass, 2002), 314.

W.H. Auden

The desires of the heart are as crooked as corkscrews.

Death’s Echo

Genie (Robin Williams)

“Here’s the thing about wishes, the more you have, the more you want.”


Meister Eckhart

The reason we are not able to see God is the faintness of our desire.

Phillip Sheldrake

The more authentic our desires, the more they touch upon our identities and also upon the reality of God at the heart of our being. Our most authentic desires spring ultimately from the deep inner wells where the longing for God runs freely.

Befriending Our Desires

Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in everything I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire and I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thoughts In Solitude

Dan B. Allender

Desire lies at the heart of who God made us to be, who we are at our core. Desire is both our greatest frailty and the mark of our highest beauty. Our desire completes us as we become One with our Lover, and it separates us from Him and brings death as it wars against His will.”

To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

Dallas Willard

Desire is infinite partly because we were made by God, made for God, made to need God, and made to run on God. We can be satisfied only by the one who is infinite, eternal, and able to supply all our needs; we are only at home in God. When we fall away from God, the desire for the infinite remains, but it is displaced upon things that will certainly lead to destruction.

Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 (Nashville: Nelson, 2018).

Wall Street Banker

We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture…. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.

Quoted by Jeremy Lent in The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning (New York: Prometheus Books, 2017), p.380.

Jen Pollock Michel

Desire, if it’s to be trusted, should be inspired by a divine vocabulary.

Taken from Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel Copyright (c) 2014 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Thomas Á Kempis

Let temporal things serve your use, but the eternal be the object of your desire.

Thomas Adams

Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish.

A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas, Banner of Truth, 2000, p.290.

Thomas Brooks

Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, and pays with pain; he promises profit, and pays with loss; he promises life, and pays with death. But God pays as He promises; all His payments are made in pure gold.

Dick Ryan

Bit by intelligible bit, a vocation lets us express

our healthiest instincts, our noblest desires…

In small things and in large, we can attend to

the haunting inner summons of our soul.

Straight from the Heart: Reflections from Twentieth-Century Mystics ed. Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001, p.85.

E. James Wilder

Desire alone, divorced from the will, ruins peoples’ lives time after time. In our public life and even among leaders of our denominations or church organizations, time after time we see a desire that has been harbored and protected—nursed instead of deliberated—ruining the life of the person or group that they are leading. Your desires are not your friends.

Renovated: God, Dallas Willard, and the Church That Transforms, NavPress, 2020.

Philip Sheldrake

There is an energy within all of us that haunts us and can either lead us to set out on a quest for something more or can frustrate us by making us nostalgic for what we do not have.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016

Philip Sheldrake

Part of the suspicion of desire undoubtedly has to do precisely with the fact that it threatens a rational, controlled, and protected understanding of a mature human being.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016

Philip Sheldrake

The problem is that unless we feel free to own our desires in the first place, we will never learn how to recognise those that are more fruitful and healthy, let alone how to live out of the deepest desires of all.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016.

Philip Sheldrake

Desires are best understood as our most honest experiences of ourselves, in all our complexity and depth, as we relate to people and things around us.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016.

Philip Sheldrake

We need to rescue “desire” from attempts to reduce its meaning to sexual libido and its increasingly murky associations with sexual abuse or sexual power games.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016.

Philip Sheldrake

But the main point is that there is nothing passive or limp about desire, for it gives energy and direction to our psyche.

Befriending Our Desires, Liturgical Press, 2016.

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