And Jesus withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed…
It takes some searching these days to find a wilderness. One of the great values of a physical wilderness is that the familiar distractions are minimized. No cell phones, television, computer, dishes to be done, children to get to school, bills to mail, meetings to attend. The only distraction is the throb of creation itself. Sounds and scents that are laden with nothing but the beat of their own being work their magic on souls that have been filled to the brim with activity. We've all experienced the great bustle of such a wilderness environment and know that even in the midst of that bustle, we can take a deep breath and become amazingly watchful and still. When it is time to leave that physical wilderness to return to our busy lives, we feel refreshed and restored.
Even though finding such a geographical wilderness requires some intentional searching, it is still easier to locate than an internal wilderness that waits in emptiness for new images to break forth. To derive the deepest benefit from a physical wilderness we need to 'mine' ourselves until we unearth that inner wilderness. Like a geographical wilderness, an inner wilderness is devoid of all but the beat of being. There is a lack of need for answers, for manipulation, for power, control, or prestige. When we find that inner wilderness, we note its open receptivity, its fresh freedom and supple spirit. And when it connects with the outer wilderness prayer happens; communion happens. It's nothing contrived--or even planned. It's simply the result of two ready spaces meeting. In that reverent union, conversation with heaven is as natural as breathing. So search. Search until you find the wilderness.
O God, help me search for the wilderness inside me and in the world, so that in the union of the two I may breathe prayer.
These meditations written by Renee Miller first appeared at www.explorefaith.org
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