Preparing Your Heart for Retreat
WHY WE GET READY
A farmer wouldn’t just cast seeds on hard uncultivated ground. A writer outlines a book plot. A cook purchases the necessary ingredients for the big meal. Priming your spirit for spending time with God and preparing to hear from Him at retreat this year is vital and here are some steps that can help you be ready for what the Lord wants to do in you and through you at this year’s Youth winter Retreat.
HOW WE GET READY
Pray - A retreat really starts well before your arrival, God is constantly at work cultivating the soil of your heart for His word. Sometimes the busyness leading up to the retreat leaves little time to spend time with the Lord in prayer. Prayer calms us, opens us, and directs us in the time right up to the retreat. God will show up mightily no matter what! He loves spending time with us and eagerly awaits us. Ask God to start now to quiet your internal chattering, why? So you can listen deeply to His voice. Ask for protection for your time away. Ask God to be with your family so your worries can stay home and not rattle around your spirit and distract you while you are gone.
Fast - God does not command us to fast, but sometimes fasting is appropriate. Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:2) and He assumed His followers would also fast on occasion. We can fast from food, activities, or just certain types of food. Maybe the Lord will lead you to fast from food prior to the retreat or maybe He will speak to you about fasting from social media (Seek Week). But make sure your fasting has a purpose. People in the Bible fasted because they wanted something specific to happen; they wanted God to change them, or to change their circumstance, or to reveal something to them. So what is fasting? Fasting is taking your focus off of the things of this world in order to focus more on the things of God. Fasting is simply a means of growing closer to God.
My Intention - Ask yourself this as you prepare for this year’s Youth Winter Retreat: What do I hope to receive from the Lord on this retreat? What am I seeking after? Where do I feel I need spiritual growth? What do I most need at this time from the Lord? Wisdom, guidance, a change in my attitude? Spiritual or physical healing? Pray about these things leading up to the retreat, and then, let it go. Open your hands, and give it to God, and trust Him to do a work in your life at this year’s retreat…but make sure to prepare your heart to receive from Him.
- Pastor Darrell Chambers
For the five days leading up to retreat (Monday-Friday), we fast from our normal diets to intentionally seek the Lord before we encounter Him at retreat. The times of un-comfortability are meant to remind us to pray and seek the Lord, and the time that we would usually spend preparing or eating regular food is more time to spend with God.
THE SEEK WEEK DIET
Fruits & vegetables
ALTERNATE FASTING OPTIONS
If you are unable to fast from food, you can fast from other things that take up a lot time that could be spent with the Lord. Some other things to fast from could be: