The Power of Personal Retreats

Welcome! This week begins a 7-part series on Personal Retreats that Brenda wrote for Everyone a Missionary in 2007.


“You want me to do what?”

I had just been asked to go on a personal retreat.

My hungry heart eyed the potential of a few quiet hours. The idea of a personal get-away with God intrigued the adventurous side of my soul. I was acutely aware of the gaps forming in my own spiritual growth, but I was strangely anxious, fearful of my inability to attend to the quiet things of God for that length of time.

Pastor Ficken, the one who initially extended the invitation, shared six words of encouragement with me on the morning of my departure.
Rest well.
Listen closely.
Produce nothing.

Twelve years later I cannot recall what specifically happened that day except that I wanted to return. And I did, again and again. Regularly nourished from these face-to-face encounters with the Almighty, I have responded to His voice and reaped the rewards of walking with Him into places He prepared in advance for my gifts, my love and my service, to people and places I might otherwise have missed.

Embracing the call of an everyday missionary places God’s people on the cutting edge of adventure, joy and challenge. Cultivating a life rooted in God establishes a discerning ear, a responsive heart and a vision for utilizing gifts and talents that may otherwise be neglected.

Personal retreats offer an ideal arena for spiritual formation. Many faulty assumptions, however, create roadblocks keeping believers from experiencing this avenue of refreshment and transformation.

Our prayer through this series is, “Lord Jesus, lead the way.”

Have you ever been on a personal retreat? What’s the #1 roadblock?

First time here?

14 thoughts on “The Power of Personal Retreats”

  1. My number one roadblock is getting my mind focused and still. Produce nothing? That is next to impossible, but the mind….that is where I fall down and so often fail.

  2. My #1 roadblock is having an agenda for the time. Setting aside “production” to “be still and know God” is very hard.

    • It is so very hard. How is your lawn chair time coming along? It’s been mighty hot lately. Does that change the look and feel of your outside time?

    • Michelle,
      Neglect is invisible, but leave a profound footprint of anguish. Praise God for a counselor who saw…who sees. May the Lord direct her care, counsel and support as you navigate this valley to the summit. Do you know Jesus often went on “retreat” with his closest friends. We don’t need to be alone, just quiet enough to hear Him singing His love songs over us. Cradled. Held. Deeply and profoundly loved. May His Presence bring comfort, HOPE, peace . . . and an ever growing level of a joy beyond comprehension. Jesus goes before, beside and within. He is the One who sees, knows, loves and empowers. Lifting up a prayer for you and this healing journey right now.

    • Renee –
      I thought you were another person who went takes a lawn chair to the edge of a forest and sits. Breathes. Prays. It is VERY, VERY hard to “be still and know God.” There are many reasons it is so hard, but universal to all, is that fact that Satan is dead set against seeing us do it. He pulls out his arsenal with a personalized attack. Some times we forget to take the matter to prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. We can ask Him to teach us to be still. To start — shoot for a minute. If you can be outside during that minute, ahhhh — soak in the creative wonder of what you see, feel, hear. Wonder and worship is a great beginning. If time allows, peek at the link. Once there, scroll down a bit and locate the 12th bullet “An Introduction to Prayer.” Read that blog post and the next 3. It’s a place to start. May the Lord reveal that there is nothing this side of heaven more productive than spending time with the One who reveals, equips, heals, restores and empowers. Onward. Jesus will lead the way!

      • Thank you. I yearn to go outside and retreat, but always seem to find the reasons for “not now.” Then. The time is gone. I appreciate your frequent reminders that time to be quiet with God does not require a weekend, but a few minutes. Thank you for again encouraging me to answer this call from my soul to be nourished in quiet communion with my God. There is a fine-tuned self-consciousness that I must confront and relinquish. I am thirsty.

        • To Him who is ABLE. Jesus knows the desires of our hearts. Time and His gentle loves takes us to new places . . . sometimes one step at a time.

    • Michelle –

      Thank you! Thank you for sharing so honestly. May I ask?
      Is it a fear of being alone in the quiet … to come face-to-face with the deep things buried in your heart?
      Or is it a fear of physically being alone … alone in a new, unfamiliar place?

      Lifting up a prayer for you today over what the Lord has planned for you — as you ask,wrestle and seek Him in and through this question.

      Eyes on Jesus, Brenda

      • Thanks Brenda,

        I don’t think the fear is either of those for me. I was neglected, probably left alone in the crib and never taken up thereafter. Just the word ‘alone’ brings intense pain. I think for me, ‘alone’ means the lack of anyone else.
        For other readers who may feel something similar, it may help to know that I didn’t know that I had been neglected until just a couple years ago, when my 13th counselor figured it out. It’s a long, long healing journey. Neglect is so invisible. It takes a keen eye to notice what isn’t there.

        • Michelle, I was neglected, abandoned, left alone, unwanted, also. I struggled with that for years without knowing the source. The Lord is healing me. It’s slow and the pain is so deep. I will hold you up in prayer. I’m thankful He has brought you to a place of understanding. Now, together, you will walk through this dark valley.


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