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The desert was essentially considered an ideal place for fasting, prayer, and communion with God. It supplies the silence, seclusion, non-proximity to material goods, and the concentration necessary for prayer. Moses, Prophet Elijah, the Essenes community, John the Baptist, and many ancient fathers of the Church selected the desert as an ideal place for communion with God. Jesus also chose the desert for his spiritual nourishment to prepare for his public ministry.

The synoptic gospels record that, after his baptism, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert. The devil tempted him there at the end of his fasting.

The Jews considered wilderness unoccupied by the humans and dominated by wild beasts as the mouths of Sheol with the powerful influence of evil spirits. When Korah took leadership to rebel against Moses in the wilderness, the LORD made a chasm, and the ground opened its mouth and swallowed Korah and his people with all their possessions down alive to Sheol. The earth closed over them, and they disappeared from the assembly (Num 16:30-33). According to Jesus, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a person it roams through arid regions searching for rest” (Mt 12:43).


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