Spiritual Practice

Into the Desert

Rachel Starr Thomson & Danika Cooley

It was early spring, hot and dry in the Arizona desert. I was hanging out on an Indian reservation, spending my free time in a friend’s trailer, cooling off and writing hooks on the keyboard. I had a lot of free time, which was the point. I had come out here to listen to God.

Arizona desert Ftr iStock_000068151891_Large copyIn September I would graduate from high school, and I had a decision to make. I had been offered a job as a preschool teacher, a job that would require leaving my family and moving roughly three thousand miles across the country. For weeks, I had prayed, consulted my parents and close friends, and considered the practical implications of the job and of moving. Now, I had come to the desert for two weeks to seek God’s guidance. I prayed each day, simply asking God to show me what God wanted me to do. And one evening as I lay down, I smiled because I knew the answer.

I went.

—Rachel Starr Thomson


In the morning, while it was still very dark, [Jesus] got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35 (NRSV)

ASK FOR CONFIRMATION: Because I want to be sure about the choices I make, I always ask God for confirmation. I’m usually overwhelmed by God’s response, which can come from diverse and unusual sources. Remembering God’s confirmation of a decision reminds me that God is involved in my life and gives me strength to stick to my decision.

PRAY: God, help me to follow you in all things; make your will my will. Amen.

—Danika Cooley

Take a solitary retreat. Get away from the noise of your day-to-day life, and spend some time alone with God.

—from devozine (March/April 2011. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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