Silent retreat time in three chunks: (see previous posts for part 1 & part 2)
3. Prayer for yourself (Psalm 119:18)
- pray according to Scripture, read a book of the Bible aloud
- consider the objective of your life (in light of God's will)
- consider the activities of your life in light of your objectives
I read aloud through the book of James. James & Psalms have to be my favorite books of the Bible. About two years ago, a couple friends and I tried to memorize the book of James. We didn't finish but it was encouraging to see how God used that Scripture in our daily lives.
Listing the objectives for my life was an interesting exercise. Here are the ones I came up with:
- to glorify God (Psalm 115:1)
- to live in dangerous proximity to Jesus
- to use my God-given gifts for the Kingdom
- to reach out to hurting people
- to love people as Christ loves them
- to be a bold witness for Christ through my words & actions
Then I listed my activities. Individually, I think my activities support my objectives. However, as a whole, they do not help me to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. Instead, I fear I have a tendency to fill my schedule and this actually draws me away from Jesus. When I rush from activity to activity, I do not allow for stillness, for my soul to be refreshed by Christ. I may even run myself ragged and then wonder why I feel so far from God.
So I spent time considering those activities that I could eliminate from my schedule to make room for two things: 1) time in the Word & prayer; and 2) time with friends. As I prayed through my list of friends, I realized there are a few of them that I don't get to spend as much time with as I would like. I want to be more intentional about making time for those relationships (and perhaps I'll reduce some of the frustrations I felt when I posted this.)
All in all, I'm glad I took the time away to just be by myself with God. I took a lot of time to journal, to read Scripture and to pray. And I've come away with a slightly better sense of how I ought to spend my time. Putting it into practice now will be the hard part.