I pretty much took the summer off from my monthly desert solitude routine. There were several reasons. Of course “desert” & “summer” would be a good place to start, and the rhythm of my life is a little different in July & August. But I’ve missed my time & felt like I was overdue.

I like returning to places that are more beautiful than you can remember them being. You just can’t capture in memory how blue the sky looks against the brown mountains, how the long winding desolate road reminds you of your overly busy soul, the miracles of plants seeming to grow in sheer rock.

For whatever reason I felt compelled to spend the time in wordless relaxation trying to access God’s presence. I usually have part of my time in silence & then break the silence with prayer about half way through. I also usually journal like crazy out there. But I felt like I needed to be real minimal with words, even journaling. Here’s what I wrote today in my Journal:

Reflection: I was silent the whole day, even most of the trip home. I didn’t even write in the journal other than what you see. I think there were a few things involved here.
– Wanted to break a pattern – whine about my problems, my struggles my sin etc
– I wanted to not try to manipulate & frame & control with words
I ended up feeling refreshed.

The only words I did utter came in a prayer that is contained in Richard Foster’s book, Prayer. It comes at the end of his chapter on “Authoritative Prayer”
For some reason as I was praying, I was overwhelmed & started to cry –
Here’s the prayer:
In the strong name of Jesus Christ I stand against the world, the flesh & the devil. I resist every force that would seek to distract me from my center in God. I reject the distorted concepts & ideas that make sin plausible & desirable. I oppose every attempt to keep me from knowing full fellowship with God.
By the power of the Holy Spirit I speak directly to the thoughts, emotions & desires of my heart & command you to find your satisfaction in the infinite variety of God’s love rather than the bland diet of sin. I call upon the good, the true & the beautiful to rise up within me and the evil to subside. I ask for an increase of righteousness, peace, & joy in the Holy Spirit.
By the authority of almighty God I tear down Satan’s strongholds in my life, in the lives of those I love, & in the society in which I live. I take into myself the weapons of truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, the word of God, & prayer. I command every evil influence to leave; you have no right here & I allow you on point of entry. I ask for an increase of faith, hope, & love so that, by the power of God, I can be a light set on a hill, causing truth & justice to flourish.
These things I pray for the sake of him who loved me & gave himself for me. – Amen

On the way home, I put in the Anthem CD from my friends at Salt Co in Ames. Click here for more info. Wow! In addition to some wonderful passion for God poured out in praise & unbridled desire (the best thing about College ministry if you ask me) one of the dudes sounds a lot, I mean a lot like Bono! It was a great way to go home.

I like being back into my ritmo desierto!