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Five reasons to ... go on a retreat

The Gospels tell us that Jesus – and his disciples – took time away from the crowds to pray, prepare and reflect. Sharon Barnard explains why it can be helpful for us too ...

The Gospels tell us that Jesus – and his disciples – took time away from the crowds to pray, prepare and reflect. Sharon Barnard explains why it can be helpful for us too …

1 An opportunity for quietness

When was the last time you were able to give yourself some head space to concentrate on your relationship with your heavenly Father?

Daily quiet times are great, but occasionally it can be helpful to remove yourself from the deadlines and demands of work, family and church, and the incessant pings and beeps of our gadgets and gizmos.

However, quietness doesn’t necessarily mean utter silence – or solitude! Many retreat centres do permit conversation, especially at meal times or community events.

2 A time to pray

A day, a weekend or perhaps a week without all the usual distractions can do wonders for your prayer life. It might feel a little odd at first, but you will soon relish this uninterrupted time with God.
Some retreats include times of corporate prayer or opportunities to pray with members of their trained teams.

3 To reconnect with God through his Word

God speaks through the Bible, but often we don’t sit around long enough to hear what he’s saying to us. A retreat will give you the space to be still and listen to him. It may be useful to meet with a spiritual director, especially if you need to work through a difficult issue.

4 A time of discovery

As well as learning important spiritual truths to help you on your Christian walk, and explore different ways to pray and worship, you may find out things about yourself – the good, the bad and the ugly – that you will want to respond to.

5 It will give you useful tools

You can’t stay in a retreat centre for ever and will have to return to everyday life at some point. But hopefully you will have started to get to grips with the tools that will help you to focus on Jesus when it all starts to get busy and noisy again.

+To find a retreat contact The Retreat Association www.retreats.org.uk

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