A long time ago, God showed me that He deals with people differently. I live in the desert, and there are only a few words to describe it—dry, dead, hot, dead, tiring, dead, exhausting, dead and tough (did I mention dead?). We can tan leather in a single day and food doesn’t mold here—it turns into jerky, because the water gets sucked out. We plant things and they die the next day.

In crossing from one side of the desert to the other, my family has gotten heat headaches, dehydration and this new thing called heat strokes. When we are driving through the desert, the only question is:

When will it end?

After the first 100+ degree day here, we begin asking the four month long question: “When will it end?” Even during the day (since we can’t do anything until nightfall due to the heat), we ask about the sunshine: “When will it end?”

In our spiritual walks, a “desert time” is typically described as a time when we are not getting answers from God and things aren’t really working out like we want; it feels like everything is dead. However, it seems that the temptations during this time are pretty simple: give up waiting and die in the desert. The test of your faith does not come from fighting, it comes from having to endure to the end.

According to Psalm 107, a desert time can look like the following: “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.” Notice again wandering, lost, financial trouble.

It is a time of trusting without seeing the benefits of trusting.

It feels like all your faith and your efforts are drying up, futile, DEAD!

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever been there? So…how do we pray through the “desert time” of our lives?

1) Keep Faith in God’s Goodness.

The tendency will be to grumble, complain and die of exhaustion. But that is not faith. Faith says God brought us here and won’t allow us to die here. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, only two of them were allowed to later enter the Promised Land—Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who said “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (Num. 14:8-9).

Remember each day to pray that God is with you, that He leads you into His promised blessings, that you will follow AND obey, that your “enemies” will be devoured, and that you are not afraid.

2) Arm Yourself With the Word of God.

Jesus, Himself, went through a desert time. Forty days, literally in the desert, with no food or water. Can you imagine fasting that long…outside in the heat all day and night? Personally, I know my own doubts and grumbling would be enough to make that time terrible. But, then at some point, the enemy comes in to help push us farther away from God. Jesus dealt with this the same way we should—quoting Scriptures.

Romans 10:17 says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” and Ephesians 6:17 teaches that the Word of God is a sword, our only offensive weapon against the attacks of the enemy. During the desert time, we need to have a strong remembrance of the promises of God, which can only be gained through studying the word of God.

Remember each day to pray that God speaks to you and that you receive strength, encouragement and faith each time you sit down to read the Bible.

3) Seek to Know God Better.

We tend to forget the journey part of the desert time because all we want is to get out of it. Personally, when I am in a desert time, I spend so much time praying for the end result that I forget to seek a relationship with God. Do you do the same thing? Does God turn into a genie in a lamp or a bank ATM machine during the desert time?

As Joshua and Caleb pointed out, God goes with us through the desert times. David, when he was running from Saul through the desert and the backhills, wrote Psalm 63, a beautiful psalm of reflection and thanksgiving. He starts the psalm by saying, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Remember each day, during the desert time, to ask to know God better, to desire Him more than you desire getting out of the desert.

4) Keep an Attitude of Humility and Gratefulness.

Eventually…the months of “heat and torture” end. Eventually…the sand turns into a beautiful garden that is easy to live in for the other nine months. Eventually…we aren’t asking “Will it ever end?” Eventually…the weather is amazing, the sun is nice again, and it is seems like those “desert times” never existed.

And this is where we must remember to stay humble and grateful, because it is God who brought us through to this place again. Psalm 107 continues: “…then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (vs 6-9).

Remember each day, during the desert times and during the easy times, to thank God for his unfailing love, for hearing your prayers and for satisfying ALL of your needs, no matter what they are.

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