Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Dad's Plan for a Personal Spritual Retreat

Personal RetreatFor the first time, I’m going on a personal retreat this weekend. I’m doing it for personal reflection and spiritual renewal. I’ll been feeling spiritually dry and stressed lately and thought being away for few days free from any distractions will help me recharge and organize my life back to its proper order.

I honestly don’t have a specific plan for my retreat except for finding a place that will provide me solitude and silence, which I found at Holy Cross Abbey, a Catholic monastery in Berryville, Virginia.

My first thought was just to let the spirit lead but I realized I should to be intentional of what I need to do and organize what I need to pray so I can maximize my time at the Abbey and truly make this experience a memorable one.

I decided to focus my retreat on my family life and personal brokenness. I want to ask God what He wants me to know regarding my relationship with my wife. I hope to hear from God how I can be a better husband and father to my children. I want to change on how I treat my wife and and love her more sacrificially. I pray God to expose the things in my heart that hinders me from growing into a strong and godly man He and my earthly family wants me to be. I also want to rekindle my passion for God. I want to experience the joy and victory I felt when he freed me from my sins years ago. Someone who was delivered from sexual addiction, the road to purity and full recovery is a lifelong process.

My personal journey has its ups and downs and I hope God will lead me to new strategies to attain deeper sexual integrity. I pray for humility and the willingness to obey. For God to remind me of all the good things He has done in this area of my life; and to reveal any remaining shame and strongholds that cause me to stumble so I can surrender it all at the foot of the cross. I hope to come out refreshed, renewed and glowing in confidence of my true identity and character in Christ. I’ll prepare for my spiritual getaway so I can be productive and not waste any time.

I'm adapting a few things I learned from Nate Fancher on how to prepare for a personal retreat and posted it below:

1. Make a list of prayer concerns that falls under your retreat focus.
– I’ll be listing specific prayer concerns related to my wife, children and my journey of personal maturity in Christ.

2. Schedule specific prayer times.
– I’ll be praying at least every 2 hours. With the help of my prayer list, I’ll allow the Holy Spirit to lead me on how long and what I should pray for. I plan to use my iPhone to set automatic alerts on the times I should pray.

3. Leave technology behind. – I won’t bring my laptop or iPad to the retreat. I only plan to bring my iPhone for emergency calls, listen to worship music and schedule my prayer times.

4. Bring a few books.
– In addition to my Bible, I plan to bring some reading materials to guide me in my meditation and hearing from God. Below are some of the books I plan to read:

5. Plan a little exercise.
– I plan to get out and run (or walk) to enjoy the outdoor scenery and also use the time for personal reflection and prayer.

6. Plan to attend church. – Holy Cross Abbey have scheduled masses that I plan to attend even though I’m not Catholic. God changed my views on Catholics and I am looking forward to worship and commune with them this weekend. Church is not the building or the denomination anyway, it’s the people – the body of Christ.

7. Get some wise Christian counsel.
– I also plan to talk to a priest for confession and godly advice. I’ll prayerfully seek God’s message through the insights of other people. Again, I don’t mind if the person is a priest and not a pastor. What’s more important to me is how God will use this person to speak truth and wisdom to me. These are just a few things. Still, the Holy Spirit leads and in full control of my weekend retreat. I don't know where God will take me but I am willing to just go, listen and follow God.

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