Most people aren’t able to spend time away from work in a secluded and peaceful retreat centre to pursue their relationship with God (great as that might be). Yet we may long to deepen that relationship and grow in intimacy with Jesus. So we set aside time to retreat, not away from our normal life but in it – taking time to pay attention, to pray and to reflect.
How does it work?
An introductory gathering as a group of participants and prayer guides
- Spending half an hour each day reflecting on a Bible passage or with other prayer material
- Spending 40-50 minutes once a week with your prayer guide reflecting on what happens in your prayer.
- A concluding gathering, drawing together the ‘retreat’ as individuals and as a praying community
You choose the time and place of your private prayer, and negotiate a time and place to meet your prayer guide.
What’s a prayer guide?
A prayer guide is trained in the art of listening with another to the Spirit’s direction. Your prayer guide will listen to you and listen with you as you reflect on what happened (or didn’t happen) in your prayer each day. She or he may suggest Scripture passages for meditation, or tell you about a way of prayer you might like to explore.
Your relationship with God is the focus, and anything from your faith, and life situation, is therefore relevant. A prayer guide is not a counsellor, but like counsellors they hold whatever they hear in confidence. Prayer guides are also supervised in their work.
Why do it?
- We are growing and changing. Sometimes we outgrow the patterns of prayer that have suited us well in the past. This type of retreat gives space to explore new ways of prayer that fit our current stage of life.
- We are busy. Work, family, friends, occupy so much of our time and attention. We may have an uneasy sense that we’ve sidelined our relationship with God. Taking time to focus attentively that relationship can help us discover God waiting with open arms to welcome us home.
- Life happens. Good things, sad things, perplexing things. Sometimes we just have to stuff them in a cupboard for later. With the support of your prayer guide over these weeks, you may open the cupboard door and look at some of the ‘stuff’ with God.
- God invites us. ‘Come away with me to a quiet place and rest for a while,’ said Jesus to his disciples. (Mark 6:31). On another occasion he asks, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ (Mark 10:51)