A Prayer for Battling a Destructive Desire

At times each of us is faced with destructive desires—the kind of desires that, were we to act on them, would necessarily harm ourselves or others, and necessarily distance ourselves from the God we love. In Douglas Kaine McKelvey’s quirky book Every Moment Holy, I found a prayer that expresses the sorrow of such desire and pleads with God to elevate our minds to far better ones.

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Jesus, here I am again,
desiring a thing
that were I to indulge in it
would war against my own heart,
and the hearts of those I love.

O Christ, rather let my life be thine!
Take my desires. Let them be subsumed
in still greater desire for you,
until there remains no room for these lesser cravings.

In this moment I might choose
to indulge a fleeting hunger,
or I might choose to love you more.

Faced with this temptation,
I would rather choose you, Jesus—
but I am weak. So be my strength.
I am shadowed. Be my light.
I am selfish. Unmake me now,
and refashion my desires
according to the better designs of your love.

Given the choice of shame or glory,
let me choose glory.
Given the choice of this moment or eternity,
let me choose in this moment what is eternal.
Given the choice of this easy pleasure,
or the harder road of the cross,
give me grace to choose to follow you,
knowing that there is nowhere
apart from your presence
where I might find the peace I long for,
no lasting satisfaction
apart from your reclamation of my heart.

Let me build, then, my King,
a beautiful thing by long obedience,
by the steady progression of small choices
that laid end to end will become like
the stones of a pleasing path
stretching to eternity
and unto your welcoming arms
and unto the sound of your voice
pronouncing the judgment:

Well done.