Print Posted on 05/22/2017 in Religious

What to Expect During a Christian Retreat

What to Expect During a Christian Retreat

What to Expect During a Christian Retreat

Are you having trouble connecting with God?  Do you no longer feel Christ's presence in your life? Maybe you're thinking of the next deadline at work or having to pay your bills on time. It's difficult to maintain a clear mind when you're stressed and even harder to make that alone time for your relationship with God.  A Christian retreat can offer a peaceful environment where you can let go of that stress and reconnect with God. 

If you've never been on a Christian retreat, you may be unsure of what to expect or where to turn for recommendations. 

This post will cover everything you need to know before you plan your next christian retreat. 

Types of Christian Retreats

There are several different kinds of spiritual retreats that you can choose from.  So it's important to pick the right one for your needs. 

Christian retreats can be designated for specific groups of people. Retreat groups could be organized around age, couples, marriage, personal growth or personal health for example.  Retreats are typically open to everyone, but be sure to read the description to make sure. 

The most common Christian retreat is a silent retreat.

A silent retreat is targeted to someone who is looking for intense spiritual reconnection. These kinds of retreats focus on meditation, self-reflection, and individual prayer.  Often different denominations of faith have different views on these topics, so please check the statement of faith at each center before making your choice.

Group retreats are usually more focused on the teaching of faith and community time with singing, speakers and common activities. These kinds of retreats are more common with teenagers and families with small children. Teen retreats offer a faithful learning experience and can be a very memorable experience. They encourage teens to take part in discussions and daily activities. These activities range from bible study, group prayer, discussions and physical activity. 

It's common for teens to find long lasting relationships at these kinds of retreats, or even meet a future partner if they are of age. Teen retreats are socially oriented, but leaders encourage kids to find time for self-reflection and personal growth. 

One thing you can definitely expect from any Christian retreat is silence. Personal christian retreats are in quiet areas near mountains and lakes. These areas have places for outdoor meditation and physical activities, like hiking, biking, trail walking, canoeing, etc.  Visiting a retreat in a beautiful area makes it easy to leave your stress behind. Being in a rural environment can make it easier to connect with nature and build your relationship with God.

A Typical Day at a Retreat

Each day at the retreat you will typically receive an itinerary. This pamphlet will give you information on where you need to be and at what time. Having a planned schedule allows you to focus on the task at hand and not worry about anything other than your faith.  This itinerary is sometimes given to you at check-in or provided each morning, but one thing you can be certain of, is a good amount of free time for self focus on reflection.

When you visit a Christian retreat you will be waking up early. Your morning will usually consist of free time. You can choose whether to pray, watch the sunrise or interact with other Christians who are enjoying some retreat time as well.  It really depends on the type of christian retreat you are on and the unique aspects of each retreat center. You will be utilizing your free time to clear your mind and prepare for a long day of prayer, reflection, learning and hopefully joyfulness. 

Your morning will consist of free time, so be sure to focus on your self-reflection and morning prayer.   Try something new, something out of the ordinary to really make your retreat memorable.  Instead of a quick cup of coffee and rushing out the door, how about a stroll through the grounds of the retreat center and stopping for a quiet spot to meditate.

After you've cleared your mind it's time to eat. At the retreat, meals are prepared for you, so you don't have to worry about leaving and disrupting your stay.  Depending on your facility you will be eating either buffet or family style. Meal times will be the same each day and you will be reminded before you need to be in the cafeteria or meal hall. 

Christian retreats keep visitors on a busy schedule!

You're going to be doing a lot of walking, hiking, strolling, sitting.  It depends upon where you are, so remember to bring a good pair of shoes and comfortable clothes.  Since you'll be in a beautiful environment, outdoor tasks will be plentiful. Outdoor tasks are anything from hiking trails, fishing, swimming, or riding bikes.

Other daily tasks include meditation, prayer, self-reflection, exercises and guided or personal prayer time.  After a long day, you'll head back to your sleeping quarters. Many Christian retreats have you to stay with a roommate, but some have single rooms too. 

Build Your Relationship With God

Embarking on a spiritual christian retreat is a relaxing and invigorating journey. Spiritual retreats require a lot of mental toughness.   You are going to be working your mind harder than normal to be focused more on God.  This is a good thing.  Open your heart to hear his words.  It's a blessing to hear from God and receive his grace. 

Catholic Retreats will let you confess your sins to a priest.  Other christian retreats will lead you on a journey toward reconcilliation and understanding God's design for your life.   Read your bible and reflect on his word.  Maybe you have some sin in your life that you'd like to ask Jesus for forgiveness.  You can do this alone and alound, quietly in your mind or confessing to another Christian brother or sister who you can trust.  Christian retreats are designed to help you move past the hard times and be at peace with yourself and God.

You can use the calmness of the retreat to help with your meditation and self-reflection exercises.   You may have never done this before and it may seem strange at first, but the power of God's word speaks loudly when we're quiet and seeking his directly.  After all, the sole purpose of the retreat is to rid the distractions of life and help you rekindle your relationship with God. 

Ask God questions; find out what he means to you and what he can do for you. Also, it's equally important to find yourself during this retreat. 

Another way you can enjoy the benefits of a retreat is to think of the future. Allow the retreat to help you prepare for a hard task that may be worrying you. You can use this time to ask God for guidance on your journey. 

Whatever you're seeking from a Christian retreat, God will be there to help you.

Returning Home After a Christian Retreat

It may be hard for you to return home after experiencing the silence of a retreat. You will feel like a new person and want to jump right back into the swing of things, but it's important to take it slow. Remember the peace that you felt on your retreat and translate that into your everyday life.  Remember what caused the need for the retreat in the first place.

After a Christian retreat, you will feel more relaxed than ever before. Take this opportunity to engage in prayer. Practice prayer when you feel stressed. Remember what you learned at your stay at the retreat.  You must allow time for self reflection in your everyday life to be more connected with God. Don't let stress get in the way of you relationship with Christ. 

Now that you know what to expect from a Christian retreat it's time to take the next step. Plan your spiritual adventure and get one step closer to finding God's direction and desires for your life. 

For lists of spiritual retreats click here, and let us help you find the retreat you've been looking for! 

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