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Enlarge Your Desires [Awakening Faith]

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One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in
the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of
the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

It might perplex us that God asks us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, if we do not realize that our Lord does not want to know what we want — for he cannot fail to know it — but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we can receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told, “Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:13 – 14).

The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger our capacity will be to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. “No eye has seen it”; it has no color. “No ear has heard it”; it has no sound. “It has not entered the human heart”; the human heart must enter into it (1 Cor. 2:9).

With our faith, hope, and love we are always praying with tireless desire. However, at set times and seasons we also pray to God in words, so that through prayer we may instruct ourselves and mark the progress we have made in our desires and spur ourselves on to deepen them. The more fervent the desire, the more satisfying its fruit will be. When the Apostle tells us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), he means this: be constantly in a state of desire for the life of eternal happiness, and ask for it from him who alone is capable of giving it.

-Augustine

Awakening Faith DevotionalAwakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church

by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly

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(Photo: Augustine of Hippo (354–430) as he was imagined by an anonymous eighteenth-century artist; via Hulton Archive/Getty Images, used in the book Awakening Faith by James Stuart Bell with Patrick J. Kelly.)

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