.A Personal Prayer Retreats help us to re-center and fortify our foundation in Christ. When we’re being pulled in so many directions, we may become fragmented, losing our clear focus and purpose. We begin to play catch up, trying to put out fuses, or just keep our heads above water. We become reactive instead of proactive. The principles of God, that we have built our life upon, become a little shaky and we begin to rely on our own human understanding instead of divine wisdom. Striving replaces resting in Christ and often times, over exhaustion of our minds and physical bodies set in. In other words, we become a hot mess mentally, physically, and spiritually.Prayer or silently retreats help us to reconnect with God on a spiritual level. We’re not just learning or hearing about God, we are experiencing God by learning to spend time in His presence. You will be surprised that the only materials you need for a prayer or silent retreat is a willing heart and a private location with uninterrupted time. You may want to have your Bible or even a journal handy but those are required. It’s a time to forfeit all of our “doings” and focus on “being”-being still and knowing God. It is time allowed for God to minister to you like he did for Elijah as he said under the broom tree (Read 1 Kings).
During that time God provided for Elija
1.Depending on how you are feeling physically, consider beginning your retreat with a short nap. This will help you to be refreshed and rejuvenated for your time with God. If this is a weekend retreat, spend Friday evening resting or sleeping to prepare yourself for the next day.
2.Meditate on the Word of God. You don’t want to have a Bible reading marathon on your retreat. Instead begin to meditate on God’s Word by selecting a passage to read out of your Bible. Continue reading until a word, phrase, or scripture stands out as a neon light. Begin to meditate on these words. Breathe these words in. Ask God to make them come alive to you. Contemplate about how these words relate to your daily life. Ponder about where you are not measuring up. Reflect upon how you can embrace these words more fully in your life. Spend as much time as you need ruminating on this word or passage.
3.Sit in silent anticipation of listening to God and hearing his voice.
4.Sing unto the Lord or play music that ushers you into the presence of God. I personally like the Katina’s Lifestyle Cd, 25 Instrumental Worship Songs, nature sounds music, or soft relaxation music. Sing to the lord and just imagine yourself in His presence, loving and ministering to you. You can also dance before the lord.
5.Pray in the spirit and with your understanding; intercede for others.6.Write a letter to God in your journal and record any truths God drops in your spirit.7.Let God write to you. Write down any words, inspirations, or messages that God may be saying to you. Don’t worry about it being your own thoughts, just let the Holy spirit speak through you.8.Dialogue with God just like you would a best friend. Talking out loud.
9.Take the prayer walk. Pay close attention to the details along the way. Thank God for all the wonderful things he has created. Be fully present by focusing only on the here and the now.
10.Meditate. Select a word or scriptural phrase that you can use to sit in silence before the Lord. Every time your mind begins to wander off, think about your word or phrase. This will help you to quiet your thoughts and gain control over compulsive thinking or play a guided Christian meditation Cd. Better yet, record several guided meditations to a ipod or musical device.
Please note that spending time alone with God and extended times of silence and solitude is foreign to many believers. During this time, you may find many emotions including fear and anxiety surfacing. You might even feel like you’re going to lose your mind. Most times we deny or hide these feelings with distractions like work or television, but without these diversions we are faced to look them square in the eye. As they surface, instead of avoiding or burying them, embrace them and offer them up as a sacrifice to God. Cry if the feeling arises. Ask God to heal and cleanse you of your fears, sins, and inner pain. You will be amazed of the healing and cleansing that can take place when you acknowledge and offer your pain and fears to God. Denying them allows them to be a subconscious menace to our daily lives, so it’s best to deal with them and let them go.
Many people come away from a prayer or silent retreat with a renewed sense of God, greater clarity, and refreshed. Jesus himself took time daily to be alone with the Father and we should follow his example. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confusion, stressed, or flustered, a personal silent or prayer retreat is just what you need to gain control and create greater balance.