People take a break from their daily schedules for different reasons. Some do it to reflect on how far they’ve gone with their goals, others see it as an opportunity to rebound and strategize, while some consider it a time to generate new ideas.
For whatever reason people carve out time to stay away from the buzz of everyday life, in many instances, the end goal is to see improvement and progress in their lives.
In a crazy world like ours, our spiritual strings are at risk of becoming slack and producing unpleasant sounds. This is why it is important to create time apart to unclog our minds and receive clarity from God for our lives.
What are the things to consider as you plan for a personal retreat?
1. Set out a time and place for the retreat.
We can keep talking and fantasizing about our desire to spend time alone with God and the year will run by without any action taken. If you really want to do this, you have to take definite steps to see it come to reality.
If you have a full time job- do you want to take some days off your annual leave for a retreat? Are you a student hoping that after the semester exam, you will stay back for a few days before going home? Do you want to use a hotel, a retreat Center or your house? These are some of the things you should begin to consider as you set your mind for that retreat. Planning helps you not to get stuck and shows that you are serious about this.
2. Be specific. Why do you want to go for a retreat.
I have gone for a retreat that mid way, I got stuck. This was because I hadn’t really figured out why I wanted to be alone with God. It’s important to pen down specific details of what you are hoping to receive from the Lord.
This does not in anyway mean that when you begin, the Holy Spirit cannot redirect you to something else. He can. Yet it is important to keep your mind uncluttered and get focused on certain things you are trusting God to do for and in you.
Are you seeking clarity regarding relationship issues, or you want an understanding of your assignment on earth? Are you desiring to grow spiritually or to build your prayer life? Put all of these down and begin to search for scriptures that addresses some of these things
3. Get everything you need ready for the retreat.
If you will be travelling to another location, get all the things you need ready. Clothings, different Bible translations, sermons if you have a laptop, toiletries, christian literatures, notepads, snacks… Arrange and pack your things together before the set date.
If you are married with kids and they’ll be staying with another family, get their stuff ready. If your spouse will be managing the affairs of the home, purchase all that is needed at home before time.
If you would be using a hotel or retreat center, ensure you make your findings and pick the place you want to use.
4. Create a spiritual environment for smooth flow of your schedule
This applies to the location where you will be spending your retreat time. Create a spiritual atmosphere by spreading some of your resources on the bed or the table. Keep them in view and let them be around your at all times. Your bibles and notepads should be within reach.
5. Keep the retreat simple and flexible.
Remember why you are holding the retreat. As much as you want to put out your heart before God, be ready to listen and be opened to the Holy Spirit in whatever form He seeks to lead you.
There is no hard and fast rule about the manner in which it could go. You do not have to start the day with praying for hours. It could begin with Bible reading, listening to sermons, singing songs…Be flexible as you spend this time. You are not in a competition with anyone. Don’t go with idols in your heart desperate for confirmation. Attend with a surrendered heart.
What are the activities you can do during your personal retreat.
1. Read the Word. You can pick a topic and study. You can decide to read the epistles of Paul from cover to cover. Meditate on the Word.
2. Sing and dance in your room. Lift up your voices to him. Worship him in hymns and songs. Oh yeah, have plenty of fun in his presence..
3. Pray. Pray in your understanding. Pray in the Spirit. This is as important as breathing. The deep mysteries that come in the place of prayers like this are amazing. Apart from the edification of your spirit and the calmness it brings to your soul, solutions are found even in the place of prayer.
4. Journaling. Write down all that you perceive the Lord is saying to you. These are the things that will comfort you when the storms hit or when faith seem weak.
5. Read a chapter or two of a Christian literature at intervals. You could decide to read at noon, 6p.m, 9p.m and at midnight.
6. Depending on the location, in the morning and at night, you can take prayer walks.
Where can you hold personal retreats?
1. At home
This can really be distracting and requires serious discipline. You could fix a weekend and let your friends know you won’t be available. This is best for singles who live alone. If you live with your family or as a married person, you have kids, it may not work except there is another arrangement for the kids.
2. Retreat Centres.
The good thing about Retreat Centres is that most of them already have a spiritual atmosphere such that you can pray without wondering if you are disturbing other people and there is a provision for outdoor praying spots in case you are tired of staying in your room.
Some of the retreat centers in Nigeria include:
-Alone with God Camp, Gwagwalada, Abuja. I have read beautiful reviews about this retreat centre. If you stay around Abuja, you can consider having your retreat there.
-Mount Carmel, Ifewara, Ogun State. Here, there are huts made specifically for prayers. You can pick one hut to retreat in during the day and at night return to your room. Except you are fasting all through that time, buy all you need before you go there. Food and drinks are pretty expensive in that area.
-Christ Arsenal Retreat Centre, Egba
-School of Missions Ede.
-Redemption Camp, along Lagos Ibadan expressway
-Gethsemane Prayer Mountain, Eleyele, Ibadan.
-Bible Guest House in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan.
This is another great location to spend your retreat. There are lots of hotels you can spend a night or more with God. You should be able to get one that fits into your budget. However, I’ll advise you check the environment, especially after work hours. It’ll be frustrating trying to listen to God while at the same time dealing with the noise around you. Below is a link to hotels in Nigeria.
Proposed Daily Schedule:
This just a guide. You do not have to follow this strictly.
7a.m- 8a.m Sing, Listen to grace-filled songs.
8a.m- 9a.m Pray in the Spirit, Lift your requests to God.
9a.m- 11a.m Study. Pick a topic and study scriptures related to it. Journaling. Write out the things God is saying to you.
11 a.m – 12 noon. Listen to a sermon.
12 noon – 1 p.m. Read a chapter or two of a christian literature.
1 p.m- 2p.m Pray.
2 p.m – 4p.m Rest and Sleep.
4p.m – 5 p.m Bible reading.
5p.m- 6p.m Pray.
(If you plan breaking your fast daily, you can do that between 4.pm and 6p.m)
7p.m- 9p.m Read through some of the Epistles of Paul. Pick out the prayers of Paul and pray on them.
9p.m- 10p.m– Listen to a sermon.
10p.m-11p.m Pray in the Spirit.
11p.m- 12 midnight. Read and meditate on the Word.
12 midnight- 1a.m Sing Praises. Dance. Worship. Sing Hymns.
1a.m – 2p.m Pray.
2pm– Go to bed.
- If you need your phones for your downloaded sermons, remove your sim card and place in a safe place before the start of your retreat except if you can discipline yourself to stay off the internet.
- Outline the topics and scriptures you want to study on before leaving for the retreat. At least have some scriptures you plan meditating on.
- Download the sermons or songs before your retreat starts. It is better to avoid any internet connection during that time.
- There is no specific time that your retreat should last. If you going to be having it for a few hours, make sure those hours are dedicated completely to seeking God void of distractions..
For Bible topics and scriptures, click here.
To download mp3 and audio sermons, click here
Have a beautiful time in God’s presence!
Do you have any other tip on how to plan a retreat?
If you know of any place suitable for a personal retreat, I’d love to hear them in the Comment Section.