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Wilderness: A Place for Hearing God and Clarifying Priorities

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Presented by: Rebekah Greenawalt
Scripture Focus: Matthew 4:1-11



Thematic Focus: 
Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus spends intentional time in a wilderness place—a place removed from ordinary rhythms and familiar routines. It is a time of prayer for Jesus; a time of saying no to demanding appetites for the purpose of clarifying that for which he was most hungry; a time of wrestling with Satan in order to ensure that his priorities and vision were aligned with those of the One who had sent him. The wilderness, for Jesus, seemed to be a place of discerning what to embrace and what to reject—what to affirm and what to resist—so that his ministry might become everything he wanted it to be.

Questions for continuing reflection:

  1. What are you designating as your “wilderness place” this Lent? In other words, what personal space, away from familiar rhythms, will you designate this Lent as a place of prayer and solitude? Will it be a different room than the one in which you normally pray? Or a different corner? Or a different chair? Or a different setting altogether? Where might God be calling you to establish a new wilderness space that might enable you to listen with renewed attentiveness?
  2. Where might God be calling you to practice the discipline of fasting this Lent? Is God calling you to abstain from a meal? Or a routine? Or technology? Where do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to say a temporary “no” to certain appetites so that you might re-engage your deepest hunger for the things that matter most?
  3. What would you identify as the foundational priorities that determine your decision-making, your behavior, and your vision for the church’s ministry? Where do you sense that those priorities need to be clarified?

Prayer Focus: 

  • Prayer for you and your congregation to be hungry for the holiest things
  • Prayer for realignment with Christ-honoring priorities and a recommitment to the things that Jesus values
  • Prayer for a meaningful, healing, and transformational Lenten journey
  • Prayer for those whose “wilderness” is a place of pain and suffering at present