Needs versus Wants

  A need is something required; a requisite, a necessity; obligation; a condition of poverty or misfortune; to have need of; require; to be necessary. To want is to desire greatly, to wish for, to be without; to be in need of, to require.American Heritage Dictionary

“If you center your hope on material needs only, then needs will encircle your hope until it’s spelled ‘needy’.”–Edna Lister

  A need implies a necessity, but a want implies a desire. Needs are objective, while wants are subjective. You need air, water and food to live, but you merely want things like perfume, coffee or chocolate. Listen carefully when someone tells you they have a need for you to fill. Discerning needs versus wants is key to understanding your illusions or how you fool yourself, misdirect you attention, but is always an initiation.

Edna Lister on Needs versus Wants

The Lord’s Prayer perfectly covers each phase of life and every need, with the needs of the now as the predominating idea. Anyone who needs anything, Let him ask of the Father.–Edna Lister, The Lord’s Prayer, September 26, 1934

Forget tomorrow’s needs and use all that the Father gives you today.–Edna Lister, The Lord’s Prayer, October 13, 1935

You may use unlimited amounts of the substance of faith and the power of joy to fulfill law and your heart’s desires.–Edna Lister, December 14, 1938

Metaphysics enables us to apply law to suit our particular needs.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

Giving God your constant support is the only true way to have your needs met, your added things made visible, your life full and complete.
  Release joyous praise on all your problems and needs.–Edna Lister, October 3, 1941

The greater the need, the greater the amount of faith-as-substance necessary to fill it.–Edna Lister, November 27, 1941

Love, love, love. That’s all you need: Plenty of love, more love of God, love of honor, love of truth.–Edna Lister, March 3, 1942

You may not interfere with Light—only darkness needs interference.–Edna Lister, March 11, 1943

Use only Light, which contains all you need. It’s the substance that becomes your creations. It’s the Power that moves substance into your molds for creations and the Mind that holds the idea as an order to direct, to love, to stand steadfast. Light contains everything you need on earth.–Edna Lister, September 16, 1943

In your moments of need, the Father says, “Do thy loving best and let Me do all the rest.”–Edna Lister, March 31, 1944

To love God with the love of God is the sum total of all our needs. Lift the self to be soul, then let the love of God possess and use you to the fulfillment of all your desires and needs.–Edna Lister, August 24, 1945

Balance needs with effort in prayer, praise joy, love; only a state of lack of balance in these can ever cause delay.–Edna Lister, February 22, 1946

Go to the Source for all your needs. When you learn to do this and expect nothing from the world, all you need will come to you.–Edna Lister, November 15, 1947

If your prayers are centered on needs—money, home, car, health, harmony, patience, companionship and love—you are filling your prayer molds with more needs. Praise God till the miracles flow.–Edna Lister, The Chalice of Love, April 23, 1950

If you center your hope on material needs only, then needs encircle your hope until it’s spelled needy. The law is Seek first the Kingdom of God. In that kingdom all things are added to supply all your needs.–Edna Lister, Promises Fulfilled, September 24, 1950

When you center your thoughts on your needs, the needs multiply qucikly. Focus on loving God instead.–Edna Lister, The Challenge, March 15, 1952

In prayer, make no negative thought or statement of your need. You cannot love God and be conscious of your needs at the same time. You must love God enough, and at the boiling point.–Edna Lister, October 1, 1953

You can best understand the breastplate of righteousness by thinking of it as the right-use-ness of law in action. It is your personal expression of harmony, and covers you from the shoulders to the solar plexus. Wearing the breastplate synchronizes your timing into harmony with the Light because it converts Light into physical harmony, like recharging a battery. When you are high in consciousness, the breastplate glows with twelve lights that brighten and radiate to meet the needs of all who come to you.–Edna Lister, Do You Always Wear Your Armor? November 15, 1953

The strength that comes from the Power in your Oversoul star is more than equal to every day’s needs.–Edna Lister, January 10, 1955

The perfect mantra of the conquering soul is I am. I can. I do all things through Christ which strengthens me. When you totally surrender to this gift of strength, you will forget all silly notions, knowing that God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.–Philippians 4:19.–Edna Lister, What Is Your Gift? June 12, 1955

On the fate line we’re all geniuses at the wrong thing, the wrong word, neglecting silence, one great avalanche of needs. When you walk the Path of Destiny, you are a genius at seeing supply and abundance, at ignoring hurts.–Edna Lister, Fate or Destiny, October 23, 1955

God needs only one soul to stand.–Edna Lister, March 5, 1956

Condense needs tersely, then pray.–Edna Lister, June 17, 1957

The prayer of desire, when fervent enough, creates from the same invisible substance: Positions whereby you can earn your food, new ideas for meeting your needs, and substance for healing your body. Yet it all comes from above.–Edna Lister, Fresh Manna Every Day, July 21, 1957

Consideration is thoughtful concern for others’ needs. An earthly gentleman or gentlewoman lives in the image and likeness of God, and always considers others’ needs.–Edna Lister, God Is a Gentleman, September 29, 1957

Make every word, every gesture, every emotion and every thought pay the greatest of all dividends. The Power that returns to you, the substance that fills your prayer molds can only be as great as the size, length and height and breadth of the idea behind it. If you want it to return a thousandfold increase, see it as increase as it goes forth and see the thousand needs it will fill. The greater your idea, the greater the Power going forth. It must equal the idea in size.–Edna Lister, October 3, 1957

Subconscious mind handles all automatic needs in the physical world.–Edna Lister, The Point of No Return, December 15, 1957

Be above the bodily needs.–Edna Lister, December 30, 1957

The Spirit of the Lord will go before you for tomorrow’s needs.–Edna Lister, October 30, 1958

Most prayers are merely demand checks presented at the window of God’s Bank to cover your needs or are sight drafts on Power for strength. You collect from God the exact amount left after your deductions for resentment, rebellion, self-pity, pride, whining and complaining.–Edna Lister, Joy, Invincible Power, November 17, 1958

I love you is the switch that turns on the heat to dissolve the ice in hearts, minds and wallets. Say, I love you, and the vibration goes forth to cover needs.–Edna Lister, October 29, 1959

You must know that God needs only one person to finish the work—you must know it.–Edna Lister, January 7, 1960

Every need you name in prayer is a call on God’s Power. When your prayer is fervent enough to reach the Source, it calls down a bomb of Light equal to the fervency of the need. Picture Daniel in the lion’s den: Daniel was talking to God with no other consciousness in his heart or mind. Daniel was not lion-conscious when he prayed. The Light scared the lion.
  Your prayer must go above earth and your needs until you think of God, not your need. God causes your fervency. If you think of or picture a need, you adulterate your prayer. When your fervency and love of God reach the Source, you have the same results as Daniel. The difference is to pull away from the need. This is how to overcome the gravity of need.–Edna Lister, What Is a Miracle? May 24, 1960

Empathy is a combination of imagination and sympathy, which enables you to see another’s viewpoint and the reasons for his needs.–Edna Lister, October 20, 1960

Do not analyze emotional states or waste so much prayer time on your needs.–Edna Lister, December 19, 1960

God must come first. It is not good enough if God comes second to your needs.–Edna Lister, January 23, 1961

Use your creative equipment, your power tools of desire, thinking and imagination to appropriate everything you need from Mind, Power and Substance to condense and fill your prayer molds.–Edna Lister, Nor Shadow of Turning, June 18, 1961

Wherever you center your attention, there you have your miracles. You must choose Light or dark, up or down, self or soul. Your lifeline moves along your attention-line. When you pay attention to self, you notice aches, pains, lacks and needs; you have a miracle of needs. Your whole life flows into "need molds," which are full of holes and are always empty. You are using God’s life, but everything leaks out. Keep your focus on God and praise Him.–Edna Lister, The Soul’s Exaltation, November 13, 1961

A selfless response to the needs of others puts a call upon the Power that is fulfilled immediately.–Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962

It’s discourteous to God when you continually pray for the I wants and not for others’ needs. Be receptive to others’ needs and you will find the right words are placed on your lips at the right time.–Edna Lister, What Is Illumination? May 13, 1962

Seek the kingdom of heaven first for all your needs, in all situations. Ascend and just listen for a few minutes of every waking hour.–Edna Lister, May 28, 1962

The Power that comes through for you to release is equal to each day’s needs.–Edna Lister, Shekinah Splendor, December 15, 1963

The Power needs only a few words of declaration to move forth to conquer all darkness.–Edna Lister, February 22, 1964

The Elect are lifting the idea of poverty and want from earth. To do so, you must free yourself of the earthy idea of what the soul’s needs really are.–Edna Lister, August 25, 1964

God covers the needs of everyone, according to degree and kind, so you must learn to agree with and adjust to that central need.–Edna Lister, Omnipresence, the Father’s Primacy, November 24, 1964

Be sure that your prayer pattern follows your soul’s needs.–Edna Lister, What Are Angels? February 21, 1965

Your love reaches up in devotion, and your praise lifts your needs. When your love’s need to receive meets God’s loving need to give, an explosion takes place and a resulting shaft of Light descends through you, healing the minds and bodies of those whom you pray for, and the remainder flows into the outer world as a miracle.–Edna Lister, Miracles, October 3, 1965

Your spoken words will come to pass, so see to it that the release of Power through your words, This is good! Let there be Light! equals the need for Light. You must release the Power to cover the needs you state in prayers as if no one else could do the lifting. This is fulfilling your responsibility for your words.–Edna Lister, July 24, 1966

Divine Mind never gives you the right to know what the other fellow really needs. Each is in his own place, learning his lessons; however, disagreeing with anyone is sure to disturb the very plan of life lessons from above being presented to him.–Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1968

We teach the deity of Christ and we follow him. We also believe that God can recreate us in His image and likeness if we stand, hold and know this truth in the Light. You can do anything according to the degree and kind of your desire to live in Light and to follow me. Do not look to yesterday or to what a book teaches, but know that you are made in the image and likeness of God today. Let it come forth. All that matters is that you are following Jesus the Christ, and no one who is questioning your path needs to know anything more than that.–Edna Lister, August 7, 1969

God needs only one person to say, Let there be Light! and to endure until the miracle comes.–Edna Lister, August 10, 1969

When you lack identity with the Source, you lack security on earth. To have a permanent identity, you need a permanent Source, which is the underlying reason for all peoples, nations, races, tribes, who need to worship. They must have a God, or a reason greater than self. We call this religion, and it’s the twin of science. Religion and science are the two permanent pillars on the way of life. Religion gives us a Source, a beginning, while science gives us the means of expression for right living.–Edna Lister, February 5, 1970

Call upon divine Mind for all your needs.–Edna Lister, Laws for Divine Living, February 19, 1970

Either you believe that Light is all-curative or you don’t. It’s all a question of how great is your desire for the Light. God needs no information about it. You need nothing but the Light—let it illuminate you.–Edna Lister, December 18, 1970

God sends those who need. When someone comes for help, you fill his cup and send him along to drink the cup while you fill the cup for the next one who needs. You cannot spend any time thinking about the person drinking his cup. When the cup is empty, he may return full of the realization of your gift. When his cup is full, you cannot give him any more without wasting it.–Edna Lister, May 27, 1971

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New Testament on Needs versus Wants

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.–Matthew 5:42

Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.–Matthew 6:8

Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.–Matthew 9:13 [Do not do wrong then try to plea bargain for forgiveness.]

Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.–Matthew 20:25-28

Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself [his self], and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.–Mark 8:34-35

If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.–Mark 9:35

Never agree to a promise unless you first know the terms: James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.–Mark 10:35-40

Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.–Mark 10:42-45

Do not conflate the world’s requirements of you with your responsibility to God: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.–Mark 12:17

As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.–Luke 6:31

Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.–Luke 9:24

The Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour [of your need] what ye ought to say.–Luke 12:12

Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.–Luke 12:29-31

Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.–Luke 12:48

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.–John 2:23-25

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.–John 15:7

In youth, self freely dictates its desires to will; in elder years, another’s desires override our will. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.–John 21:18

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.–Acts 17:24-25

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.–Philippians 4:19

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.–Hebrews 4:16

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.–Hebrews 10:35-36

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Old Testament on Needs versus Wants

Gluttony is eating more than you need.–Proverbs 25:16.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of need: Old English neod, ned, "distress, necessity."

Etymology of want: Middle English wanten, "to be lacking," from Old Norse vanta.

Discerning needs versus wants is always an initiation.

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
–Wendell Berry, 1934


American Heritage Dictionary, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. ISBN 9780544454453.

Berry, Wendell. What We Need Is Here. Wendell Berry Books [accessed March 1, 2017].

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Related Topic

The Gold Standard: Edna Lister, January 1933, during the grim financial hardships of the Great Depression