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Personal Prayer Retreat - a practical resource for your use



This was adapted from the book: “Alone with the Lord – A personal day of prayer.”

~ Dr Gordon T. Smith President of Ambrose University – Calgary AB ~





ORDERING THE DAY

9:00 a.m.

PRELUDE: BEGINNING WELL

9:30 am

Session # 1

10:30 am

BREAK

11:00 am

Session # 2

12:30 pm

BREAK

1:30 pm

Session # 3

2:45 pm

BREAK

3:00 pm

Session # 4

4:30 pm

CONCLUSION & BENEDICTION

PRELUDE

You may have come to this day because you just need to stop and be with God. Perhaps you have a specific situation or struggle you are wrestling with, walking through these steps that have been adapted from the book, will give you new insight and understanding.

When you begin this day, prepare a place for yourself that you will be comfortable and no distractions. Do not bring your electronic device with, if you need it for the alarm function take the first 30 minutes to set up the alarms and then make sure it is across the room from you. Have your Bible and a journal or paper and also a beverage of your choice. Take time to settle yourself and then sit in quiet expectation waiting to begin.

This is not a race but a marathon and if you need to stay on a session longer then do so.

I pray that you will be richly blessed from this time alone with God; just a reminder that the scripture calls us to:

Romans 12:2 – Renew your mind

2 Tim 2:7 - Reflecting and reviewing

James 1:22 – Life Application

“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS; I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH”

PS 46:10

BEGINNING WELL

Read Isaiah 55

A call to listen – V1-3a

The assurance of God’s love – V3b-5

The call to repentance and the confidence of God’s Forgiveness – V6-7

The call to live in the truth, confident of its redemptive power V8-11

The call to live in joy and receive God’s guidance in peace – V12-13

After reading Isaiah 55, identify what you anticipate will be the central or defining element of the day for you. Are you seeking the grace to know that you are loved, the convicting ministry of the Spirit or the illuminating power of truth? Or Are you seeking the grace to go out with peace and joy, confident in God's guidance in the midst of a critical choice.

Reading Isaiah 55 can serve to highlight your longings as you come to this day, particularly if there is one dimension of God's grace that really stands out to you. Once you identify this defining element of your day alone with Christ, you do not need to rush the time or seek his grace immediately.

You can approach the day in a fashion that is consistent with the pace of God's work in your heart confident that this grace will come. You can give the day over to God, letting go of the need to control the day in order to arrive at a particular conclusion. You can enter into each phase of the day confident that God knows the longing of your heart.

SESSION # 1

The Grace to Experience that we are loved.

CENTER YOUR THOUGHTS

“Lord, in your goodness and mercy, grant me the grace that I seek – and as I begin this day with you, I long for this: to know your love, to experience your love and to live my life – out of this confidence.

• READ: EPH 3:14-19

Today you need to come away with a heartfelt assurance that God loves and knows you personally. Read through the scripture passage a few times.

PSALM 100 - Reminds us that God’s love endures forever and declares that God is good, and he is faithful to all generations. Read this Psalm and enter into THANKSGIVING.

IDENTIFY 10 THINGS FOR WHICH YOU ARE GREATFUL. (LIST IN YOUR JOURNAL)

REPEAT THE ABOVE EXECRCISE 2 MORE TIMES.

SILENCE

Take the next 10-15 minutes to be still before God. Dwell in the conscious awareness of God’s goodness.

JOURNAL

Take a few moments to write in your journal about what stood out to you in this time, especially the time of silence before God.

SESSION # 2

CENTER YOUR THOUGHTS

“O Spirit of Christ, as I turn from any form of burdensome false guilt, grant me this grace: to know your convicting ministry that will lead to freedom and strength.” Jesus speaks of the Spirit as one who will convict the world of sin (John 16:8).

Psalm 139:23-24 expresses the work of the Spirit by asking:

…”Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

CONSIDER PSALM 32

As Psalm 32 reveals, God is the one who forgives our sin, so we can approach him in confidence as the Spirit convicts us. We are also reminded that for his to happen there needs to be confession. (Examination of conscience) read through the Psalm and prepare to enter into the spiritual practice of:

CONFESSION

Acknowledge your wrong

Accept responsibility

Humbly as for mercy: “Christ have mercy”

Confidently receive the forgiveness of God.

SILENCE

Take the next 10-15 minutes to be still before God. Dwell in the truth that has been impressed upon you during your reading and meditation. Focus your thoughts on what you recognize as the Word of God to you in this hour. God will draw your attention to what he would have you know and experience.

JOURNAL

Take a few moments to write in your journal about what has emerged through your time of meditation, prayer and silence.

SESSION # 3

CENTER YOUR THOUGHTS

“Lord, grant me this grace – to know the truth that can set me free, the grace of a heart and mind that is permeated with your word.”

Colossians 3:15-16: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

CONSIDER PSALM 119:1-16

In this hour, we long to know the joy of living in the truth. Psalm 119 reminds us God is our teacher, so we can confidently ask him to lead us to His truth. We are also called to the spiritual practice of meditation in order to live in the reality that God is our teacher. Read it through again.

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE MEDITATION

When we meditate on God’s word he reveals to us more about Himself and ourselves. Read with an open heart and mind as we meditate. Choose one of the following scriptures to meditate on:

• Epistle to the Philippians

• Isaiah 40:1-11 & Isaiah 58 (character of God) Two accounts of Jesus as he encounters others:

Luke 8:22-25

• Luke 8:40-48

SILENCE

Take the next 10-15 minutes to be still before God. Dwell in the conscious awareness of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

JOURNAL

Take a few moments to write in your journal about what stood out to you in this time, especially the time of silence before God.

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE: DISCERNMENT

The spiritual discipline that enables us to respond to the particular call of God and know His guidance in the midst of a choice or critical decision is DISCERNMENT. As we face the critical choice ahead of us, we need to consider how we sense God’s peace. We can only attend to this peace if we are alert to the presence of desolation in our hearts. Any hint we have of fear, anger discouragement or desolation should cause us to reconsider and reflect again. God only leads in PEACE.

We also need to test the peace to see if it actually comes from God. To discern this, we ask ourselves 3 questions, which reflect the classic temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness:

v Is there anything in this peace that arises from an inordinate desire for wealth or financial security?

v Is there anything in this peace that arises from an inordinate desire for power and influence.?

v Is there anything in this peace that arises from an inordinate longing for recognition or affirmation?

IF WE CAN SAY THAT WE LONG FOR AND SEEK NOTHING BUT GOD’S GOOD AND PERFECT

WILL (Rom 12:2) WE CAN DISCERN THAT WE FEEL GOD’S PEACE. IF WE ARE ABLE TO SAY THAT WHAT WE SEEK REFLECTS THE “TRUE…HONOURABLE…JUST… AND…PURE” (Phil 4:8), THEN WE CAN REST IN GOD’S PEACE FOR THAT DECISION.


SILENCE

Be still before the Lord and ask for His peace.

JOURNAL

Record in your journal about the choice or decision you need to make.

BENEDICTION

As you conclude this day reflect on your journal entries and consider if there is someone you need to share this experience with. Carefully consider if you need to share it with:

Ø A spiritual director, spiritual friend, Pastor or accountability group; Ø Those with whom you live (either a spouse or housemate); Ø Those who are affected by what might arise from this day.

The Lord bless and keep you;

The Lord make his face to shine upon you, And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

AMEN

Numbers 6:24-26

Thank you, for taking time to spend with God today, I trust that you will be richly blessed because of it.

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