Audio prayer: What do you desire?

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

WB Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Here is a guided prayer to help you to get in touch with your deepest desires – your “deep heart’s core”.

What do you desire?

You will need a journal or some paper to scribble in or doodle on as you go. And you may want to pause the recording at several points to give yourself time to reflect.

You can click on the little arrow on the left-hand end and the recording will start playing. Alternatively, you can download it as an mp3 to play on your favourite device.


What do you desire? What do you long for? What are your deepest wishes? I have written about these questions before. Spirituality is how you live out your deepest longing, day by day, year by year, in and through all the ups and downs of life.

Desire is the object of questions we hear Jesus ask:

Prayer begins with desire. Desire supports intention. Intention supports presence, commitment, and discipline. As I once heard a friend say, “To be motivated you must have a motive.” (And if you don’t want to pray, then please don’t! See this.) Be clear about what you genuinely want, and commitment to a habit of prayer is more likely to follow.

There is a misconception that desires and prayer do not go together. Concepts such as ‘indifference’ or ‘non-attachment’ can be thought to imply this. Buddhism talks about freedom from “craving and aversion”. It is certainly the case that we are full of wants and wishes and desires, some more wholesome than others, most fleeting. Nevertheless, however unseemly a desire may appear to be, it has a sacred centre. We uncover this sacred centre by listening deeply to our desires. [What do I really want when I spend the evening watching American cop shows?]

Ignatius alludes to this in his First Principle and Foundation. At first glance, this passage can sound rather life-denying. “We must make ourselves indifferent to all created things,” he says (my emphasis). On closer study, we see that he is inviting us to make sure our fleeting desires (e.g. for comfort, fame, and fortune) do not occlude the deep longing of Soul. When Ignatius says ‘indifferent’ here, he does not mean ‘uncaring’ or ‘disinterested’, but rather ‘impartial’ and with a lack of bias. We are to hold all desires even-handedly in the discriminating light of Soul’s great desire. [Where does my desire to watch TV stand in relation to my desire to abide in You?]

This guided prayer can help you “hear it in the deep heart’s core.”


You might also like to watch this short video narrated by Alan Watts asking “What do you desire?”

And if you want a bit of fun, and ENERGY!!, watch this.

So, tell me what do you want, what you really, really want!

These audio prayers are an experiment. Please help me with some feedback, either in the comment section below, or privately using the Contact page.

Sanddune, Norfolk
Sand dune, Hunstanton (photo by Julian Maddock)

2 thoughts on “Audio prayer: What do you desire?

  1. I wanted to read the article by Gerald May which has a button on the What is Spirituality page, but the the link tells me the page is not available. Do you have access to this article elsewhere?

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