Go on a personal prayer retreat
- 2000 19 Apr
Have you ever thought about setting aside some time to get alone with your Lord? Christians who practice the habit of taking personal retreats find it helpful and spiritually refreshing.
- Get away from your usual surroundings. A change of scene most often results in a change of mind-set. Do this even if you live alone. For a short retreat - say a half-day - head to a nearby park or even your own guest room.
- Trade weekends with your spouse. Time with Jesus is a great gift husbands and wives can offer each other. He agrees to take care of the kids and household responsibilities one Saturday every three months, she covers those same responsibilities so he can get away the following weekend.
- Set aside as long a time period as you can. Consider a two- or three-day getaway, but don't think of it as all or nothing. If you can squeeze only four hours out of your calendar - take it.
- Take only a few tools with you. Take your Bible, a hymnal or another devotional book, a notebook and pen, possibly a concordance, a CD or tape player with hymns, Scripture songs, or praise choruses.
- Ask the Lord to prepare your heart to meet with Him. Ask that He protect you from spiritual pride and from undue personal introspection. Your goal is to glorify, honor, and learn from Him, not to prove to yourself how superspiritual you are.
- Make a general plan. Decide how you would like to structure your time with the Lord, but be willing to deviate from that plan if the Lord seems to take you in another direction.
- Determine to avoid the extremes. It's easy to fall into daydreaming and catnapping or cramming as though for a seminary final exam. Think of your retreat with Jesus as just that, a time to retreat from the obligations and clutter of everyday life for the express purpose of getting to know your best friend a little better. Balance study with reflection, reflection with relaxation, and relaxation with prayer.
- Create your own activities. Take along your church newsletter and pray for the various ministries and people God uses to accomplish His purposes. Pray some of the hymns. Meditate on God's attributes as revealed in the Scriptures. Write a poem or hymn to express God's heart. Take a walk with Jesus, asking Him about your walk through life at this point and about the lives your life has touched along the way. Write letters of thanks and encouragement to those in ministry in the church. Read the book of Matthew at one sitting (this will take an hour or two).
- Evaluate. A week or two after your retreat, take a few minutes to look back over what you did during that time. Follow up on any ideas that still seem to have merit. Jot down any ideas you have for the next retreat.
From Armed & Dangerous by Jane L. Fryar. Copyright (c) 1997 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission of CPH, St. Louis, Mo., 1-800-325-3040.