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Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God Paperback – January 6, 2005


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Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God + Surrender to Love: Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality + The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 123 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (January 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830832610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830832613
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Discovering God's will is much more than simply making right choices regarding such events as marriage or career. According to psychologist and spiritual director Benner, surrendering to God's will is choosing God over self in all areas of life. It is willingness instead of willfulness. In this short book, veteran spirituality writer Benner takes a close look at willfulness in the forms of discipline and rigidity, then contrasts those with the freedom that comes with knowing God's love. That love, he says, is the basis for our surrender to God. With that surrender comes desire, and with that desire a willingness to make God, not self, the center of life. Benner admits to his struggles with willfulness, including God's plan for him to write this book instead of the one Benner planned, but he also describes the spiritual transformation he desires and sometimes fully achieves. He quotes often from the spiritual leaders of the past, a refreshing change from some modern authors who reduce God's will to "sin avoidance." His discussion of consolation, the name given by St. Ignatius for the feeling that we are aligned with God, and desolation, the feeling of being far from God, is an interesting and valuable addition to the book.
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Review

"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))

"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)

More About the Author

Dr. David G. Benner is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, lecturer and cartographer of the human spirit and soul. The underlying passion of his life has been the understanding and pursuit of transformation - not merely healing or even growth, but the unfolding of the self associated with a journey of awakening. This has been the focus of his more than three decades of work in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and his more recent work as a transformational architect and coach. He can be found online through his website at http://www.drdavidgbenner.ca/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrDavidGBenner or Twitter @drdavidgbenner.

Customer Reviews

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My will be done, or thy will be done.
FrKurt Messick
This little book reinforces well a truth that will enable the reader to live in joy.
Thomas A. Stanwyck
The author is very thoughtful and honest.
Sam Green

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
David Benner states in his epilogue that there is a difference between doing the right 'thing' and following the right 'way'. It is by going the right way that our will is most aligned with God's will for us - it is not something that is simply reducible to a list of things to do, or even a figuring out for particular decisions 'What would Jesus do?' This might have a component in the process, but this is not the entirety of the process.

In the Benedictine rule, one of the vows made is conversion of life. This isn't the road to Damascus kind of conversion, and Benner recognises that in the kind of transformation most of us are called to seek. 'Our response to God's presence is not usually the Damascus Road knocked-off-our-feet-and-struck-blind epxerience of Paul (Acts 9:1-9). Typically, God's presence is more subtle, and our reactions are correspondingly attenuated.'

Benner discusses the Examen and discernment process of St. Ignatius as a key way of looking at how our will and God's will might work together. The opposite poles of consolation and desolation are highlighted as means by which we can attune ourselves more completely with God's will. This is a very different thing that seeing the idea of following God's will as one more new year's resolution (an analogy Benner draws early in the book). We all have willfulness, which can have a darker side (Benner highlights the character of Judas, among others, and certainly the apostle Paul spoke at length about the problems of the will).

Benner calls love the antidote of this dark side of willfulness. This is contained in the Lord's Prayer - how often do we say this prayer by rote recitation, rather than hearing the impact of the words. Thy kindgom come. Thy will be done.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sam Green on March 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book is very engaging. It reflects the truth about willpower and willing. Resolving is different from surrendering. Desire is basic in willing; choosing God out of desire for God. Surrendering the kingdom of self to the kingdom of God. The concept of taking up our crosses daily is graphic and emphatic. Death is the way to life! The problem is not with one finding the presence of God but being attentive to His presence by turning towards Him in centered and focused prayer. The problem is not with knowing God's will but accepting God's will. God wants to change out choosing not merely our choices. The author is very thoughtful and honest. He is aware of the contributions of others on the subject and makes good and appropriate use of the works and words of others!InBreaking Free: The Key to Empowerment, Happiness & Fulfillmentthe author also speaks of the importance of yielding to God for total healing and restoration.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Stanwyck on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Benner is always profitable to read. This little book reinforces well a truth that will enable the reader to live in joy. Two other titles that go well with this are "Surrender to Love" and "Desiring God's Will." These three especially are in the great tradition of Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God." I buy these to give them away.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles B. Sharrow on August 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good book, I think this is the best book I have read on God's will
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Hughes on March 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I pick this book back up when I get out of balance with head knowledge and busy-ness. It refocuses me on my personal relationship and how it intermingles all for good when we love God.
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This is another excellent book for becoming closer to God (and Heaven). I dearly love it and we are planning to have a Bible Study using this book; it lends itself very well to group study.

I keep saying that things arrived excellently, but I havenever ordered anything through Amazon that did not arrive on time or earlier and be in excellent condition when it arrived.
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Not just deeply spritual openly practical. Many generations have attempted to guide seekers to better equip themselves for the long journey of faith,most seem so mystical in their approach,Dr. Benner tenderly guides you.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The topic of God's will can be very perplexing if we let it. We think of it as an equation: If I do "this" and then do "that" it will equal the will of God. It's not quite that simple, or is it? I remember hearing someone say "Find where God is active in your life and join Him." David G. Benner's book Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God tries to shed some light on how we can truly desire God's will, embrace it, and live in it.

This book is the third and final book in a series (Surrender to Love and The Gift of Being Yourself being the first and second books respectively). Its seven chapters include: Ways of Willing; My Kingdom, Thy Kingdom; Love and Will; Choosing God; Will and Desire; Choosing the Cross; Developing a Discerning Heart.

Read my review in its entirety at: [...]
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