When we desire and seek God, He brings us into a love relationship with Him—a relationship of a son or daughter to a father. As our Father He desires to give us all the things we need. As a son or daughter we naturally desire to receive from Him what He desires to give us. And this is the beginning of what we call prayer. It is really the basis of prayer.
Some Hebrew and Greek words can be translated as either desire, prayer, or request. For example, I looked up the word desire in my Vine’s Expository Dictionary and found that two Greek words, eratao and aiteo, are sometimes translated as desire, but most often as ask or request. We could also come from the other end. That is, if you look up all the Greek words for prayer, there are two words, deomi and deesis, which could really be translated as desire. According to Vine, deomi means “to desire” and “to beseech,” and deesis means “a wanting, a need,” then, “an asking, entreaty, supplication.”
So I think we can conclude that desire is so much a part of prayer, and prayer is so much a part of desire that there is no separating the two. Desire is prayer and prayer is desire. According to Andrew Murray, “Desire is the soul of prayer, and the cause of insufficient or unsuccessful prayer is very much to be found in the lack or feebleness of desire.” We can pretend to pray without desire, but it won’t do us any good, because our prayers won’t be real or true. True prayer, even by its definition includes desire.
If we could only remember this—that all true prayers include desire—it would no doubt change a lot of our prayer habits. Perhaps we would pray less, because I can imagine that we would cut out all those prayers originally meant to impress, being careful to pray only for the things we have a holy desire for. And I suppose our prayers would be slower, and more deliberate, and specific. They would be less general and formal. Yes, if we could only remember that desire is the basis of prayer I think our prayers would be much different.
Now, since desire is the basis of prayer it makes sense that desire will help us pray. I think desire works to bring us into prayer; then, it helps us in the actual process of prayer. I would say that the way desire works to bring us into prayer is that God creates in us both a desire for Him and a desire for the things we lack and that He wants us to have. Next, He shows us that He can fill that lack—that He is the great provider and lover. Last, as He desires us and draws us to Himself He continues to create in us a greater and greater desire for Him. The more we are united with Him in love the more we desire Him and what He wants to give us—thus the more we have a desire to pray.