At a time like this when festive period is upon us and the chapter of this year is about to fade away giving room for another chapter to open. As the year is going to an end, my question is: what are your plans for the coming year?
Some are already planning of how to end the year memorably: to some the planning is tied around the festive period (where to go and how to celebrate), some took a step further and plan for the coming year while many don’t even see the need to plan than to live their life with whatsoever the year gives.
Yet, as wise as planning for the new year maybe, those who are wise will also create time to examine their spiritual life and this is done through RETREAT.
A retreat is the act of withdrawing to a quiet place (to afford privacy) for the purpose of meditation, study and prayer. It is a spiritual exercise that gives you the opportunity to examine your spiritual life. This can be done in the confinement of your room or you can go to a prayer ground or camp.
WHAT TO DO IN A RETREAT:
- Examine your spiritual life: it is a pity that many believers don’t do this or they don’t see the need to do this. We examine every other aspect of our lives but leave out the key aspect.: your spiritual life. It is crucial that you also pay attention to your spiritual life as much as you give your family, academics, finances and health attention. As the year is coming to end, you need to examine your spiritual life whether you grew spiritual or you are on your way to backsliding.
- Examine your prayer life: Do you have an effective prayer life or you only prayer in church? How often do you create time for personal prayer this year? Were you able to prayer consistently more than last year?
- Examine your fasting life: many believers do pray but only few believers move a step further by engaging in fasting. Are you part of the few? How often do you partake in your church fasting program? And most importantly do you have a personal fasting schedule for yourself?
- Examine your study life: if we compare Christianity with other religion in the world, we can deduce that we are not doing as much as others. We don’t invest in knowledge acquisition. We are not disciplined as other religion. Only few believers actually read (even the bible). How often do you study God’s word this year? For most of us, we only read the bible doing church service? If you can’t study the bible how can you study other inspired books by Men of God?
2. Call to action: after you have thoroughly examined your spiritual state, noting down where you did well and the areas you were found wanting. It is wise to take deliberate actions to strengthen your spiritual life.
- Write out what you need to do to strengthen those are you did well and to resuscitate the areas that are not there
- Make sure you have a daily prayer schedule: pick the best time that is suitable (it may not be convenient ) for your work schedule (it can be in early hours of the morning or at night). For now, it’s not about how long but the quality and consistent of your investment in prayer.
- Have a personal schedule of fasting: fasting is a spiritual exercise not to move God’s hand but to align you to the path of the divine. You need this, to bring your will and life under the influence of the Holy Spirit. (this can be a day in a week or 2 – 3 days in a month).
- Invest in getting knowledge: be determined to be intentional about knowledge next year. The knowledge you have will give you an edge over others. If you want to have an edge in whatever you do, seek knowledge in that field. Invest in buying and reading books; not just borrowing free books. Buy and build your library.
- Be a word-addict believer: you won’t experience transformation because you pray much but your transformation lies in the amount of word you take in and apply. Make it a duty to read minimum of one chapter in a day.
- Be a giver: because of the law of what you sow, you reap; make giving a lifestyle next year. This can be a great turn around for your financial life. Be determined to pay your tithe correctly. Give to the work of God. Give to the men of God, He has being using for you and give to those in need. All your giving will come back to you in due times.
- I won’t forget to add that, be intentional about winning a soul for Jesus next year. You may not be able to do it one on one now but make yourself available for your church evangelism program.
3. Lastly seek God’s face: apart from examination and meditation, one crucial element of a retreat is seeking God’s face.
- This is a period where you approach God not based on what God will do for you but based on what God will have you do.
- This is a period to seek after God’s instruction and counsel.
- It is not a period of give me this, give me that but a period of asking what are you saying Lord.
- Therefore you approach Him with a humble heart, ready to hear and willing to act on what He says.
- You approach Him with such level of reverence and adoration. Giving Him all the glory and praises.
- As you do this, note that ideas and thought that may come to your mind concerning some issues in your heart.
Note: if you get it right spiritually, you will likely get it right in other aspect of life. Also, the above points will not do much if you are not consistent in doing them. Be consistent.
Retreat is a great way to end the year and prepare for the coming year.
Thanks for reading, please, share with family and friends
Oladimeji Olayinka Joseph