Welcoming the Wilderness

Temptation in the Wilderness by Briton Riviere, 1898


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

~ Matthew 4:1


The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. Why?

So that he could get to know himself, his true identity as the beloved Son of God; fully divine and fully human.

In the season of Lent we follow Jesus on his journey into the wilderness.

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights and that at the end of that fast – he was famished. It was then, at his weakest point that he was tempted by the hinder, aka the devil.

His journey of self-knowledge prepared him to give himself unconditionally for others.

Jesus’ journey into the wilderness demonstrates the reality of how we wrestle with temptations in our lives. His journey also reveals that the wilderness is a place where we discover clarity, inner strength, and God’s steadfast love and saving grace.


We invite you to journey with Jesus into the wilderness through the practice of Contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is being open and silent in God’s presence. It helps us “put on” the mind of Christ.

Prayer is an unceasing conversation with God. Through prayer we gain clarity, increase our compassion, and cultivate a deep trust in the One who makes all things new.


This week’s prayer practice is Welcoming Prayer.


This prayer welcomes each of our thoughts, emotions, and feelings, names them and then releases them to God. It is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. It is a “letting go” in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life.
“To Welcome and let go is one of the most radically loving, faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day. It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is – in ourselves and in the world.”
 ~ Mary Mrozowski


  1. Focus on the thoughts and emotions that are rising up within, acknowledging their presence and sinking into their feeling in your body.
  2. Welcome God to the head of the table, and then welcome each thought or emotion in turn.
  3. Let go in the presence of the Divine by closing with the prayer written by Father Thomas Keating, below, or by simply assuming a posture of surrender or breathing a deep breath of release.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me today

because I know it’s for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,

situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,

approval and pleasure.

I let go of my desire for survival and security.

I let go of my desire to change any situation,

condition, person or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God and

God’s action within. Amen.
Blessings on your journey,
            Pastor Ninabeth

One Response to “Welcoming the Wilderness”

  1. Jayne says:


    Thank you for this beautiful exercise in prayer. It gave me peace at the end of the day that is filled with sadness and worry about the situation of things happening around us

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