Help. Hope. Healing.

What You Really Want

By Rex Goode


When I meet someone who is at a crossroads about changing something in their life, I ask what I think is a fairly pertinent question. “What do you want?”

It’s not as simple a question as it seems. In fact, it’s one that most people can’t answer. That’s especially true for the more difficult struggles like same-sex attraction and sexual addiction.

I think it’s a universal truth that with a few exceptions, people choose the choice that they want most. Wants are complex things and I think it’s entirely possible to simultaneously want things that are in oppositionto each other. So, to ask someone what they want is an overwhelming question to answer.

In my less mature days, I usually followed the “I don’t know” answer with an attempt to convince the person to want what I thought they should want, to want the right thing, by my definition. I have since come to realize that it’s not all that helpful to try to answer such a deep and profound question for someone else.

Instead, I now respond with something that I think is even more profound. I ask, “What do you want to want?”

I find that most people can answer that question. To me, the answer to that question is an invaluable piece of information to that person. I think it provides what I would call “the point of prayer.”

What I mean by that is that you should find that level of answer to the question of wants that is the most basic thing you can commit to and pray for that.

For example, it was futile for me to pray to give up sexual acting out when I didn’t really want to give it up. Instead, I needed to pray to want to give it up. That was the point of prayer for me. For another, it might be to pray to want to want to give something up.

I think it works this way because God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows when we’re not praying for our true desires. To offer a truly honest prayer, we have to start at the point of the certainty of faith and the honest representation of what we truly want. To reach that level of sincerity engages the promise of God that if we ask with a sincere heart and real intent, he will answer our prayers (Moroni 10:3-5).

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4 Responses to “What You Really Want”

  1. mita said:

    AHH! That is so right! You said something totally profound that I said to myself just yesterday – I can’t, I mean I really cannot pray for help overcoming this addiction, because I don’t WANT to overcome it! I know I should, but I don’t, and that is the hardest thing for me. You’ve said this so many times before about the things to pray for, I need to shift my thoughts and focus on changing me where I can. A good place to start is to pray to want the change.
    Beautiful words again Rex. Thank you.

  2. Rex Goode said:


    Thanks. I pray that your prayers are answered. 🙂


  3. pauchuo said:

    In a way we don’t want to overcome our addictions, because they give us something we need. Yet on the other hand we hate the feeling that we have afterwards. That creates conflicting desires. We can develop a bigger desire to change by praying, like you said. In Alma 32 is a great explanation of how we can develop that desire. Mita, you obviously do want to change, otherwise you would not even be on this site. The question is which desire is stronger. One thing that also helped me a lot is to look at my life and wonder what would be the consequenses if I didn’t make the change.

  4. Rex Goode said:

    pauchuo, haven’t seen you post here before. It’s great. Alma 32 is one of the inspirations behind my post: “even if you have only a desire to believe…”

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