Retreats and Reflection

RETREATS (For Reflection, please scroll down)

At the heart of Scripture engagement is our relationship with the Living God. Engaging with Scripture is essentially an interaction with the Living God through his written Word. The Word draws us into the presence of God himself, inviting us to know and trust Jesus, receive his grace, enjoy his fellowship, hear his perspective and re-centre our lives on him. For this to happen, we need to spend time soaking in Scripture and prayerfully looking at our lives in light of the Word.

Retreats invite us to do this. They are an invitation to come to God, the source of life. As we spend time in silence drinking from God’s Word and reflecting on our lives, we open ourselves up to God’s work in us. Retreats are about creating space for this to happen – alone or in a communal context.

Retreats can have different lengths and formats. The following notes are an encouragement to take some time out on your own or with a friend – and shape your own personal retreat.
Shaping a Personal Spiritual Retreat

The following examples of retreats are from real life IFES events. We hope that they will draw you into a deep experience with God and his Word.

_An Honest Conversation with God: Praying our Lives (Psalm 42-43)
Download: AnhonestconversationwithGod_Ps42-43

_Looking Back at the Crowds: Renewing our Calling (John 6:1-13+35)
Download: Lookingbackatthecrowds_John6 and appendixLookingbackatthecrowds

_We Do Not Lose Heart: Encouraged to Keep Going (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)
Download: Wedonotloseheart_2Cor4

_Life from a Different Point of View: Seeing vs. “Seeing” (Matthew 14:22-33)
Download: SeeingvsSeeing_Matthew14 and appendixSeeingvsSeeing

_Desiring Growth (John 15:1-8)
Download: Desiringgrowth_John15:1-8

_Running the Race with Perseverance: Letting go and Looking to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Download: RunningtheRacewithPerseverance_Hebrews12

_Compassionate Living (Matthew 20:29-34)
Download: CompassionateLiving_Matthew20

The following retreat notes were developed by Annette Arulrajah, Regional Secretary for IFES East Asia for meetings in her context. They are particularly helpful for staff wanting to reflect on their life, ministry and student movement:

_Reflecting On Our Pilgrimage.

_Reflecting On Our Movement.

_Reflecting On Changes.


We are often busy, going from one thing to the next without stopping to ask: What was this about? We live intense lives, but fail to see and grasp the significance of what is happening.

When we run events, we want to use the time well – often leading to full programmes. Participants receive a lot of input, inspiration and ideas. We hope that afterwards, they will take the time to sort through what they have heard and prayerfully integrate what is important to them in their lives. Yet when they return home, the demands of daily life often prevent this from happening. How can we give them time to digest and discern how God is speaking to them during our events?

Here are some resources to help us reflect:

Reflecting on Each Day

_Rummaging for God. This simple reflection format can accompany us in our personal lives as we journey with God. It can also be used to lead a daily reflection time with all participants at an event. Rummaging for God

_Candle of the Day. An example from the staff week of the Ukrainian movement, August 2021. The candle of the day

_Selah. A frequent practise in East Asia. Read more here.

Reflecting on a certain time period

_Pause and Pondering. Here you find three different options to help you prayerfully look at your life journey and discover what has been significant over the past months or even in your life so far as a whole. This reflection can be done at any time, but is probably best integrated into a personal or communal retreat time. Pause and Pondering on our Journey

_Looking back at the end of an event: an example from the end of a staff week. Matthew7endofweekreflection