Each year most of us have hundreds of hours which are, for all practical purposes, wasted. There are ways to change this squandered time into segments of wonderful discovery. I know this to be the case from personal experience.
The perspective of this site is Christian, but the basic concepts can be used by people of any faith. This little primer is intended solely as a launching point for individual discovery. Once you start down the road of the personal retreat, you will immediately begin to find your own ways of expanding your perspective and strengthening your faith. —John
The retreat is one of the most powerful tools available to us to increase our faith. The Bible is filled with examples of those who have temporarily removed themselves from the world to become closer to God. Jesus himself went into the desert for 40 days immediately after being baptized. (For our purposes, one day at a time will be quite enough).
We should never underestimate the potential of this device. Anything is possible, from solidifying an already strong faith to experiencing a major spiritual breakthrough. There is absolutely no limiting factor to the inherent power of a sincerely executed retreat. Anyone who truly seeks to be closer to God shall not be disappointed. The success of one personal retreat will spill into the next, inexorably expanding one’s faith in all directions. God has promised “the peace that passes all understanding” to those who ask.
While organized retreats are wonderful experiences which are to be strongly recommended, it is impractical for most of us to experience them frequently. But we all have the time and resources to fashion our own personal retreats several times each year. Personal retreats require virtually no money, and the time expended can be drawn from the large reserves of wasted time each of us have. For those who are interested in a good return on investment, the personal retreat would have to top the list.
Journalists say the best way to explain anything is with the Five W’s. I’ll use that approach here to give a broad brush of what’s involved in a personal retreat. ―John
Generally speaking, a personal retreat is just for you. Group retreats are magnificent experiences I have participated in many times…and sharing with family members is always wonderful and commendable. But the thrust of this web site is toward a one-on-one day with your Creator.
A day away from the rigors of the office or the house. Away from ringing phones, e-mails, v-mails and all the other distractions. A day set aside solely for meditation and prayer.
I like to do a few personal retreats a year. There is also a strategy outlined elsewhere on this web site for using travel time as a mini-retreat. But there is nothing like just carving out a day for no other purpose than to get closer to God.
Somewhere secluded is often the best. My personal preference is state parks or the seashore. But, it can also be in a small park in a large city. The world is the limit, but the key is to avoid distractions so far as possible.
A day of personal retreat will pay you back enormous dividends in many ways. Do it once and you will do it again. It will truly bring you blessings you cannot imagine.