During my early years in ministry, I often wanted to go on a personal retreat day, but one of the reasons it was pushed out of my schedule was the simple question, What do I do for a day alone with God? I could see that I needed to get away to refocus my awareness, tune up my alertness, and become more attentive to God, but I lacked the experience of actually spending eight or more hours alone for that purpose. Out of desperation, I finally took the plunge, and after a couple of times on retreat, by trial and error, I came up with a schedule you can modify that might be helpful for you.
A few tips:
- Take it slow; be conscious of your pace as you begin and end each element.
- Allow for 30-45 minutes for each element and then pause before jumping to the next element.
- Remember, it isn’t about finishing or following the entire schedule; it’s about being with God
- Pray – Dedicate the time to be with God.
- Read – Open the Scripture and spend some time reading it aloud, slowly and reflectively.
- Listen – Become present to the presence of God.
- Wait – Trust that God will reveal what we need.
- Lunch – Listen to a book on tape or sermon as you eat.
- Rest – Relax, nap, be.
- Enjoy – Count your blessings or listen to a worship recording.
- Pray – Spend some time praying about your concerns and/or with a prayer book.
- Reflect – End your time journaling about your day. After reflecting, distill your day to a paragraph or less.