This is Week 2 of Desires of the Heart, a 10-week series on Ignatian spirituality and prayer. The text below is meant to companion the audio teaching and meditation. Click play and feel free to follow along. You may also download a PDF this week’s “handout” here.

“There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.”
– Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

ignatius prayingBACKGROUND
In the Spiritual Exercises, one of the first things an exercitant does is ask God for a grace: “What I want and desire”. Doing this centres ourselves and reminds us how we need to turn toward God in our need. Long before modern psychology, Ignatius understood the importance of “You need to name it to claim it”. Can we truly claim our time of prayer as a time of needing our Lord and God?

Ultimately, our deepest desire should be to praise, reverence, and serve God. Desires are important because we ultimately want them to lead toward God (the desire under the desire).

The grace I ask for should be…
• according to what we might be praying with (Resurrection: sharing in Christ’s joy; Passion: sharing in Christ’s suffering)
• something I do not have, something I want, and something only God can give
• Ignatius has us focus on affective graces—things to be felt and experienced


  • What desires are in my heart? I reflect on the deep desires that lead me toward God, not away from God.
  • What are God’s desires for me? I recognise that God has dreams for me.
  • Might my desires and dreams align with God’s?
  • I ask God for this grace: That I may have the desire to want what God wants for me.


If you would like to offer this 10-week series to your group or parish you can download a full PDF of the programme here. Contributions are requested if you offer it in active ministry setting.

Listen to the audio teaching and meditation…

Music by Kevin MacLeod