The Holy Spirit on Retreat

This is part 4 of a 7-part series on Personal Retreats that Brenda wrote for Everyone a Missionary in 2007. We also ran this series in 2016. Click here if you would like to start at the beginning of the series.

The second faith-factor we learn from Jesus’ time with His Father is: the Holy Spirit was active throughout.

The third and fourth chapters of the Gospel of Luke bear testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life and ministry. John the Baptist tells his listeners

. . . I baptize you with water. But . . . He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit . . .

Luke 3:16

A few verses later, John was baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River when all those gathered watched the heavens open while the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. Then they heard the Father’s voice announce, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22) From there, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1) was led into the desert for forty days. After this extended quiet time and a victory-winning battle with Satan and his lies, Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit to begin His ministry of teaching and healing.

Believers throughout history have ventured into the wilderness, like Jesus, trusting the Spirit to lead the way, as Timothy Jones notes in his book  A Place for God: A Guide to Spiritual Retreats and Retreat Centers

The Celtic saints of earlier centuries made much of the idea of peregrination, a difficult-to-translate word that suggests an open-ended journey. It was not uncommon for medieval Irish monks to set out with no destination; they left with only the simple impulse to go and seek, guided by the Holy Spirit.

While on retreat. . .

we (want to) cultivate discipline, yes, but we do well not to strive too much. We are better helped by a creative relaxation, an attitude that comes from trusting that the God who leads us on pilgrimage will bring us to where we need to be. We approach the time of retreat, in other words, prayerfully. We open ourselves to God and let God be the prime mover . . . (because) deep within is a longing to be met, loved, guided, wherever that might lead.

Mission-minded people today are also empowered and propelled into ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Truth is music to our ears. As you read the Scripture listed below, consider embracing the reflective mood fostered by the directive Selah found throughout the Book of Psalms. Selah is an invitation, a personal directive to pause and ponder. It asks its readers to be deliberate, attentive and responsive to the message it contains.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8


If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Luke 11:13


I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

Luke 24:49


When was the last time you invited the Holy Spirit to have full access to your life?

First time here?

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