Tips for Individual Day of Prayer Retreat

I’m so excited to have finally gone on retreat. You see when I was a girl attending a Catholic school retreat was a normal part of our vocabulary. I remember one fun retreat with my classmates to Covington, Louisiana in the 8th grade before our Sacrament of Confirmation. That was a long time ago, however the need to get away and spend time with God has always been a strong desire of my heart. I have daily devotions at home but I’ll be honest, I’m easily distracted by the guy outside cutting the grass and the baby in the apartment across from me crying. A retreat center offers you a great measure of solitude because they’re usually nestled away from the noise and distractions of daily living. The only noise I encountered was that of birds and other animals roaming about the grounds. It was very peaceful. Retreating is also a biblical principle. Jesus often went away from the others to pray to Our Father. It’s good for your soul to detach yourself from the worries of this world and retreat.

Anyway, here are a few tips for an Individual Day of Prayer Retreat

1. Many retreat centers are Catholic but anyone of any faith can use them. I am no longer Catholic but I felt very comfortable and welcomed by the staff at the center. You can also have a retreat in a motel room, beach, woods…you name it.  My retreat costs $35.00 for the day (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) and it included my private room, free roam of the grounds and lunch. I added an extra $5.00 as a donation. I thought of going to a B&B but they cost three times as much.  Retreat centers are usually affordable and some only ask for a donation.

2. Plan for your retreat the night before. I ironed my clothes and set aside my bible and writing materials so that I wouldn’t be rushed in the morning. Dress comfortably. My room was very cool so next time I will bring a light sweater. I also wore flip flops but would have been more comfortable in sneakers since I spent a lot of time walking the grounds and praying.

Besides planning physically be sure to plan spiritually. Make a list of the people and causes you purpose to pray for during your retreat.

3. Pray on your drive to the retreat. I said a simple prayer asking God for a good retreat and that the Holy Spirit opens my heart up during the experience.

4. Bring water. There were water fountains in the center and even a vending machine but my large water bottle was quite sufficient.

5. I found this tip on another site and it really helped. It stated to have a verse or promise you to memorize so that when your mind wanders during praying or meditating you repeat that verse to bring you back on track. My verse was “God maintains my right and cause.” Pslam 9:4.

6. Enjoy the experience and congratulate yourself for making the time to do something so important for your spirit. The bible states that God looks down from heaven upon the sons (and daughters) of men to see if there is one who seeks Him (Psalm 53). I’m so glad when he looks down and sees ME seeking HIM.

Retreat Part I
Retreat Part II

Retreat Part I

This plaque was on the wall in the lobby & caused me to pause & reflect on this truth every time I passed it

I have LONGED to go on retreat for YEARS now but I always had an excuse. Someone needed to be home for the kids when they returned home from school, and who was going to make sure everything ran as smoothly as me, “Wonder Woman?” That was back in my martyr mom whoa is me role where I selflessly gave of myself, placing everyone else’s needs and wants before my own. Needless to say this behavior created a very bitter and resentful me!

Rewind to a few weeks ago. Remember that list of things I long to do? Well, retreat is on that list and I started thinking what would be a great birthday gift to myself? It didn’t take me long to come up with a day of prayer at a retreat center. I am so fortunate to have a retreat center only a few miles from where I live. I called the day before and excitedly made reservations. I wrote down my goals and objectives for the retreat which mainly consisted of praying for each of my children for a lengthy time (I wrote down an hour first but decided 45 minutes per child, then 15 minutes of silence would probably be better – that way I could HEAR God speaking to me). I knew I would need my bible, journal, camera, water bottle and pens. I did a quick google search for more ideas but I kept it really quick because I didn’t want to be bombarded with information. One tip I really liked was to meditate on the cross. I hadn’t done that but in passing and wrote it down as a reminder. I also liked the tip to not bring reading material because the purpose of an individual retreat/ day of prayer is to PRAY and talk with God. 

My rough draft schedule went something like this:
9:00 – Thank God for his many blessings/ confession
10:00 – pray for oldest son
10:45 – silence
11:00 – pray for daughter
11:45 – silence
12:00 – pray for D
12:30 – lunch
1:00 – pray for extended family members and friends  (I did also write to pray for children who were suffering, President and other issues that are dear to my heart).
2:00 – pray for self
3:00 – pack up and head home

Well, wouldn’t you know the devil had other plans? My schedule was thwarted by a late night phone call saying there was a change in plans. I was sooo upset because I really wasn’t equipped to deal with any negative news. I decided I would STILL attend retreat even though I would go later than planned and leave earlier. I simply had to revise and I figured that there was a reason the devil was so busy trying to keep me from this special time. I was going to get a breakthrough and leave with clarity and peace. I HAD to do this for me no matter what! 

Stay tuned for Part II. 😉