Desire is not evil. Even common desires like a better car or the love of a beautiful woman or the sense that our work matters are not ungodly. At worst, they’re neutral. At best, they’re neutral. The danger comes when we fixate on our desires, or when the satisfaction of those desires makes us haughty.

For years I have laid in bed next to my daughter and sung “You are my sunshine.” It’s the second verse that makes us well up with tears, every time. Does God get tired of our repeated requests? Not any more than Anna and I get tired of crooning “I dreamed I held you in my arms.” The connection we feel in prayer is most closely emulated in the bedtime rituals of parents and children. It’s that good, for God; and it can be that good for us, too.

God will never make us feel needy, as though he is bothered by our requests. He is not our boyfriend, but our benevolent Father, and he is charmed, rather than crazed, by our petitions.

So pray. Boldly. About everything. Because if it’s in you, it’s coming to God whether you want it or not. You may as well extend yourself the courtesy of articulating your requests rather than trying to conceal them.

Excerpted from How to be with God: a Primer on Christian Prayer