This is God’s invitation to us (Psalm 46:10). No matter how full our days or how important our tasks, God calls us to be still before him.
Stopping is a spiritual exercise. It is the stop that keeps us going. Each Sunday is an invitation to let our own efforts rest and rejoice in God.
In addition, personal retreats can draw us deeper into God’s presence. Such a retreat can last half a day or several days. This year, IFES encouraged its staff to take time out for a personal retreat. Listen to some of their experiences:
“It was my first time to go on a retreat. As the time approached, I felt increasingly nervous and under pressure, thinking that I need to use this time well and come back with results. Talking to a colleague helped me relax and simply be open to receive what God has prepared. The Lord is good. He provided a place where I felt safe and comfortable; he talked to me through Scripture, people, and in unexpected moments. Some of it was hard to hear, but very healing. I am planning to make this an annual tradition.”
“An activity I really enjoyed was walking and taking pictures in the gardens of the retreat centre. It had been so long since I had lingered over simple, beautiful, and quiet things like flowers and plants.”
“I used a resource from the Scripture engagement website: ‘An Honest Conversation with God: Praying Our Lives (Psalm 42-43).’ It provided just the right amount of structure and flexibility.”
“I read through the prayers we find in the Epistles of Paul, praying them for me and for my region, reflecting on their relevance to this stage of my ministry.”
“I would describe my day as ‘mercifully quiet.’ I had one day without all the usual distraction. Some of the time I spent reflecting on my personal and professional life. But I also spent several chunks of the day simply sitting on the floor, resting or watching the rain, and had a profound sense of the presence and mercy of God with me even as I ‘did nothing’. This allowed me to recognise how overstimulated my body and mind have become. In response, I am building in more persistent rhythms to pause and be regathered in my work day.” It is the stop that keeps us going. When is your next stop? And how will you shape it?
Here you can find different resources to help plan a personal retreat, to prayerfully reflect on your life, and to connect God’s Word with your own experience. Enjoy!
IFES Secretary for Spiritual Formation