This is Week 2 of The Desert Shall Rejoice, a six-week Lenten blog series. Each week of Lent, I am sharing a reflection, providing a Scripture passage to read and meditate on, and offering journal questions for deeper prayer with Jesus. You can read Week 1 HERE.
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)
Two years ago, as I contemplated plans for the season of Lent, I wondered how this time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving could draw me closer to Jesus—in a new and deeper way. I longed to stay near Him as I remembered all that He lovingly suffered for me, in His Passion and Death.
But I immediately went to where my mind almost always goes first. I thought to myself, “There is so much I am doing wrong. How am I going to pick a good Lenten sacrifice, when I really need 50 to make up for all that is lacking in my life right now?”
I wanted a fruitful, blessed, and meaningful Lent, but my body, mind, and spirit were already worn out and weary from living with chronic illness. How could I lower the bar—you know the one—that seems to be set so high, and still have a really intimate experience with the Lord during Lent?
Jesus’ Invitation to a Deserted Place
And the Lord gave me His response through the words of a wise friend: Don’t lower the bar; throw it out.
I realized that to have a good Lent, I didn’t need extensive plans. Checklists and benchmarks would only add stress and anxiety to my already overwhelmed state of mind. No, I didn’t need to overthink or overcomplicate Lent.
Some sage advice rang in my ear and reverberated in my heart: Lent doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Jesus.
The answer was clear. His invitation was right in front of me: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourself and rest a while.”
Take a few moments to quiet your heart. Breathe in and out.
Read today’s Scripture verse: He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)
After reading the verse once, read it one or two more times.
What stands out to you? A word, feeling, thought …
Today, the Lord invites us to come away with Him. And one of the three traditional observations of Lent is prayer.
Jesus desires time with us, conversation with us. He invites us to rest our weary head upon His chest and be still, knowing that we are in the arms of our Savior. The desert is a beautiful place to do this, because it is silent, still, and free from distraction. As desolate as it may be, free from our creature comforts, we find the Lord there, waiting for us, inviting us deeper.
As you hear God’s invitation to prayer, how do you respond? What does the deserted place God invites you to look like? How does it feel to be there with Jesus?
What are your current prayer practices? What are your hopes for your prayer life? Converse with Jesus about your relationship with Him and how to spend quality time with Him in prayer this Lent.
“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” (
At the end of your journaling time, spend a few minutes in silence or rest. Simply be still and be present to God.
Oh, Lord, thank You for inviting me to go deeper into the desert. Thank You for drawing me closer. Lord, I need this time of silence and stillness, especially with how hectic our world is. The demands on my life, even the good demands of home, work, health, relationships, and ministry can leave me feeling drained and parched. How amazing that You use the desert as a place of rest and reprioritization. I trust that this Lent, as I spend time in this deserted place, You will restore my weary soul. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.