Desiring God's Will
IVP Formatio

Desiring God's Will

Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God

by David G. Benner
Foreword by Thomas H. Green, S.J.

Desiring God's Will
  • Length: 123 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: February 2005
  •  Discontinued
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3261-3
  • Item Code: 3261
  • Case Quantity: 80

We overhear Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane--"not my will, but thine be done"--but have trouble honestly making it our own. (from the Introduction)

Most people think of God's will as something to be found or as the receiving of guidance from God when making decisions. We assume that if we just knew what God wanted, we'd do it. Too often, however, the problem is not that we don't know what God desires for our lives, but rather that we just don't want to do what we already know he wants. Sometimes, though, we try to live the Christian life out of sheer self-determination and grit, only to discover that our will is not sufficient to sustain us.

How might our wills be changed so that we become both willing and able to do what God asks of us?

In Desiring God's Will psychologist and spiritual director David G. Benner explores the transformation of the will in Christian spirituality. He examines why our desires are disordered and how our human volition can be brought into alignment with God's intentions so that we willingly choose that which God wants for us. In so doing, Benner shows us that cultivating discernment and being attuned to God's desires is the path to true life, spiritual health and freedom.

God wants to change our choosing, not just our choices. By aligning our hearts with God's, we will find liberation from the kingdom of self and instead experience the joy of the kingdom of God.

"David G. Benner has done it again! Desiring God's Will is the perfect capstone for one of the finest trilogies of Christian spiritual formation that has ever been written. I recommend it for any serious seeker who desires for his or her heart to resonate in perfect pitch with the heart of God."

Gary W. Moon, Vice President for Spiritual Development, Psychological Studies Institute, and author of Falling for God

"Can it really be that the things I most deeply want point me toward God? Can it be that these same things tell me something about what God deeply wants for me? With hope and clarity, David Benner demonstrates that the answers to these questions are a resounding yes. Psychologically sound and spiritually compelling, this book moves us beyond our fear and suspicion that somehow God's desires for us and ours for ourselves are mutually exclusive, to a path for discerning God's will that is deeply satisfying because it is congruent with our authentic self in God."

Ruth Haley Barton, cofounder, The Transforming Center, spiritual director, author of Invitation to Solitude and Silence

"David Benner releases us from the burden of having to figure out God's will, which too often becomes an obsession to us. Instead, he invites us to embrace the will of God as we know it for today. Along the way he provides enormously helpful categories: we should be willing but not willful; we should explore our true desires, not dismiss all desire as bad; we should realize that God's will has less to do with a particular decision and more to do with the most important decision we will ever make--to pursue God. I found this short book helpful and insightful. It was obvious that Benner did not write this book on a whim. The material has been simmering in his soul for some time."

Gerald L. Sittser, Professor of Religion, Whitworth College, and author of The Will of God as a Way of Life

"Desiring God's Will is a fresh alternative to today's common spiritual writing. David Benner has written a penetrating book, faithful to ancient truth, that goes beyond the facile 'how to' and seeks to confront the heart of our rebellion, independence and pride. This is a welcome gift to those who want to move past easy answers as they surrender to a truly authentic faith and walk with God."

Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Pathways and Sacred Marriage

"David Benner has a unique perspective in assisting the contemporary pray-er to achieve that true openness which is essential for genuine discernment. . . . Desiring God's Will achieves a happy balance of tradition and contemporary relevance."

From the foreword by Thomas Green, S.J., author of When the Well Runs Dry

"Benner has provided a masterful understanding of God's will that rightly places the emphasis upon a loving, responsive relationship with God rather than the correct performance of a structure of 'duties.' This is one of very few books on Christian spirituality that I couldn't wait to get back to when I had to break off reluctantly for other duties."

M. Robert Mulholland, author of Invitation to a Journey

"This is really a wonderful book, a powerful book, a life-giving book--Benner speaks so honestly, openly and directly to our lust for the self-determination and control that keeps us from knowing the joy and freedom of a God-centered life, a life of willingness in response to God's constant personal love. Reading this book I came to know more fully than ever before how much God desires me."

Dom M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O., author of Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer

"In Desiring God's Will, the third in his trilogy, David Benner writes in a deeply personal way of the corrective activist Christians need, not so much to seek guidance as to deeply desire God's will. No more important message could be given us in our narcissistic culture. Poignantly written, this is a life-changing book."

James M. Houston, Emeritus Professor of Regent College, Regent College, Vancouver

"David Benner never disappoints. He is intelligent without being academic, psychologically astute without being trendy, spiritually profound without being pious. He clearly knows the landscape from which he dares to speak."

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"This is for people who want God. Even more, it is for people who want to want God. It is about not the taming of the will but its transformation."

John Ortberg, author, teaching pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

"According to psychologist and spiritual director Benner, surrendering to God's will is choosing God over self in all areas of life."

Publishers Weekly, December 13, 2004 (starred review)


Preface: Willing God's Way
1. Ways of Willing
2. My Kingdom, Thy Kingdom
3. Love and Will
4. Choosing God
5. Will and Desire
6. Choosing the Cross
7. Developing a Discerning Heart
Epilogue: The Transformation of the Will


David G. Benner (PhD, York University) is an internationally known depth psychologist, transformational coach, and author whose life passion has been helping people walk the human path in a deeply spiritual way and the spiritual path in a deeply human way. Some of his books include Presence and Encounter, Spirituality and the Awakening Self, Sacred Companions, and Soulful Spirituality.

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