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Missional Prayer Retreat
My Ideal Retreat Location
Who doesn’t like to go on a retreat? Some of my favorite ones have been in the middle of the woods. I’ve been on men’s retreat, youth retreats, and spiritual formation retreats. Retreats are a great time to spend in fellowship with other Christians and fellowship with God. Usually there’s a topic that is being discussed to help us on our Christian journey. Sometimes there isn’t a topic and we are on the retreat just to connect with God. I’ve been thinking, why not have a retreat on missional prayer? A retreat where you spend time looking at God’s mission and praying for his mission. I have done this before and it was amazing.
It was a small gathering and we met only for a day. There was time of fellowship, intercessory prayer, learning, listening to God, and worship. One participate walked away saying it was one of the greatest experiences he has ever had. All I did was set up the time for him to come and experience God and pray for His mission.
I've shared this video before, but this is the goal of the Church and Missional Prayer Retreats
For the past few years there has been a gathering like this at China Lake in China, Maine, for Pastors and Church leaders.
One of my editors has had his ministry advanced greatly by going to Tres Dias, clustered week-end retreats. If you want more information, write a comment and I’ll get you that information.
Since there are so many things that goes into missional prayer, taking a weekend, a day, or an overnight might be worth our while. You can do this in a group or just yourself. This blog has what I think are the essentials in having a missional prayer retreat. If you have one, follow all or part of this list. The main thing is to get away and pray for God’s mission. Look in the Gospel accounts and see how Jesus instructed His disciples on this topic.
China Lake Camp Location
Studying God's Word
Scripture: I have said it before and I’ll say it again. If we are to pray for God’s mission, we need to understand his mission. And the best way to understand his mission is to take the time to read and study the Bible. I suggest Acts because that is filled with stories of the early Church doing God’s mission. Almost all of the New Testament is great for this. But don’t neglect the Old Testament. The Old Testament explains the problem of sin and God's interaction with Israel to tell the world how he plans to solve this issue. Both the Old and New Testament need to be studied to understand God’s mission. So, pick a passage that you believe God is calling you to study and study it.
Worship: Part of your time should be spent in worship. Not so we can twist God’s arm to do what we want, but so our vision of God can increase. Worship can be done musically or verbally. All that matters is taking the time to praise God for who He is and what He plans on doing. Worship reminds us of who God is and what He plans on doing. As we worship, it's up to us to DO something, take an action - ACT (just like they did in ACTS) to connect with His heart. Don’t just sit there like a lump and let your mind wander, SEEK HIS face with focus and passion!
Listening: Part of the time needs to be listening to what God has to say. I realize that part of this will be covered when reading the Bible, but we also need to be still and know that he is God. When I do my prayer retreats, I always make sure that I have time just to listen to God. If you do this in groups, make sure that you have time for everyone to share their experience. When I have done this, I get a wide range of experience from seeing s vision to having to stop myself from taking care of other things. It is hard to stop and just listen. It takes practice. If you are having a retreat by yourself, make sure that you write down this experience and share it with others. The reason we share our experience with God is to check it out with other believers. Other believers will help you discern what God is saying to you. Also they can help determine if it wasn’t from God. There is safety in numbers.
A View of China Lake
Learning: Try different ways of praying. There are many ways we can connect to God. The important thing here is that we do connect with God. Don’t fret about the particular method - CONNECT! Again, if you are doing the retreat in a group, take time to debrief your experience. It is okay if you were weirded out by what happened, and if you were, share it and talk about it. It is a good learning experience for all involved.
Intercession: Take time to intercede for your church, ministry, or mission. I like doing this after a time of listening to God because He gives me things to pray about. I would also come with a prayer request written down so you are ready to pray for them. At one retreat, our time of intercession was after a time of being on a retreat of silence. We shared what we heard and placed on them a white board for all to see. Then we entered into a time of prayer and it was amazing.
Fellowship: Make sure that you have times of just hanging together. Eat some good food and have fun together. If we are going to be on mission together, let’s get know one another. And it is easier if we love each other.
Your Idea: What would you do on a missional prayer retreat? Please share your thoughts,I would love to read them.
Saving seats for others to join him at worship
Taking time out of our of your busy schedule to pray for your mission can do so much for your ministry. It is costly, but it also recommended. Recommended because it is not our mission. It is God’s mission. And God is going to do the work. We just need to DO (only) our part. We need to stay out of the way and let HIM LEAD us (NOT US leading Him). On balance, a lot of “Retreats” are billed as “Advances” nowadays. Think about it. It's a wonderful give and take in a wonderful relationship with a wonderful savior.
So, you know what to do In the meantime everyone: PRAY, PRAY, and (guess what) PRAY. Pray early and often.