The Desert Prayers Project

Welcome to Desert Prayers. I'm Jason Alexander, a priest in the Episcopal Church in Arkansas and a Doctor of Ministry student at Virginia Theological Seminary. Desert Prayers is an important piece of my Project Thesis, and I welcome your participation.

One of my principle duties as a member of the bishop's staff is transition ministry. I work with congregations searching for their next pastor and with priests discerning new calls. The quickly changing religious landscape in America, and the COVID pandemic, have thrust the Church into a more generalized and chronic state of transition. We have been forced to reconsider how to "be church" in the modern era, perhaps a little more quickly than anticipated.

Periods of transition are naturally difficult and often put strain on relationships, yet they are also opportunities for personal and institutional exploration and growth--paradoxically, during times when it can feel like God is absent, the truth of God's enduring presence is often revealed. Evagrius's method of contemplative prayer and his emphasis on becoming more aware of the eight thoughts are a means to help us recognize this presence. And in so doing, we are moved to share the message of Christian hope with our communities.

My Project Thesis involves presenting Evagrius's thoughts and practices to various groups. In particular, I am including this presentation as a component of the rector search processes in several Arkansas congregations. New clergy in the "Fresh Start" group are also a part of Desert Prayers, as are members of a congregation that has recently relocated to a new building. Each of these instances of transition are pivotal moments to respond to God's invitation into a transformative relationship.

Even if you're not a part of one of these groups, Desert Prayers is open to all. Please utilize its resources to deepen your prayer life. Feel free to reach out to me at

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2022 Desert Prayers