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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

By Mike Valles


The brochure promised many things - good and exciting things. It said the retreat would be a fantastic event, memorable, and refreshing to the whole man - mind, body, and spirit. Well, I needed to get away for a few days - besides, I might enjoy it. So I went. I found it to have been all of those things, and then some. Later, when reflecting on the joyous time that it provided for me, and the more I thought about the oft stressed daily situations in my life, the more I felt a need for more retreats.

I then thought about what the Scriptures say about the need to get away. The Lord Jesus told His disciples to come away for a season (Mk. 6:31 - KJV): "And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while...") He cared for them and knew that getting away, at times, was an essential thing.

There is also another way that we are encouraged to enjoy the benefits of a retreat - one that can be had on a daily basis. It is found in Matthew 6:6 (KJV): "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Once we enter into our "closet" (a private place for prayer), we are instructed to shut the door. Here the idea is that we are to shut other things out from diverting our attention from Him and the needs, and blessings, of the hour.

A closet is not the most attractive place in the house, but we need to remember that, just like the closet, we are to come into His presence as we are - unadorned. It is Him, and His perfections, by which we should be awed, and will lead us toward worshipful. Our focus should be on Him and His power and abilities.

This place of private retreat was lovingly given to us by our Lord. He knew that one day He would leave them behind - in a world where we often will not be welcome, or appreciated, and where Satan, our ultimate enemy, is loose! The time of prayer is, first of all, the believer's refuge. In the secret place we have our vision corrected to see that all mountains to us are just tiny molehills to our Father - everything is still all right in my Father's house - He has not lost control!

This wonderful place of retreat is also good for refreshment. Our Lord said that He would cause us to "lie down in green pastures," and that He would lead me "beside the still waters" (Ps. 23:2 KJV) and this is for the purpose of restoring our souls. By coming to Him for our daily refreshment, we confess that there is no refreshment worthwhile, apart from Him. Is it not He alone that can give us the peace that passes our ability to understand it (Phil. 4:6,7)? Stress comes from a lack of peace - but peace is quickly restored in the closet.

It is also in the closet that we will be reminded of the many and good things that He has done for us in the past. How many times in the Scriptures does God remind the Israelites of His past victories in Egypt and at the Red Sea? He wants them to remember so that they might trust Him in their present difficulties and so that they might pray that His power would come on them afresh - as it did in the past! He is willing to revive (refresh) us again that we would be able to rejoice in Him, again (Ps. 85:6).

This special place of retreat also reminds me of a grandfather who was asked by one of his children why he blessed one set of grandkids with more gifts than their own. His answer was simple (but it said a lot): "Because they come to see me more often than you do." So often one believer may be a little more blessed in a spiritual way than another. Perhaps the simple reason is that they come to the Father more often than you do. His promise is there if we learn to enjoy His place of retreat more: "…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Mt. 6:6 (KJV).

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Member Comments
Member Date
J. C. Lamont08/09/05
Prayer is definately the ultimate retreat. Whether done in a closet, the shower, or the car (as in my case. As you said, it is our weapon against evil and our source of strenght. Good piece.
Debra Brand08/10/05
Excellent points.
dub W08/11/05
Good points, would make a great opening message for a church group.
Karen O'Leary08/14/05
Good points. I would like to see a bit more of your personal experience. I would limit the bible quotes to 2 or 3 that really bring home your point otherwise you risk losing reader interest. Best wishes with this piece.
Marcell Billinghurst08/30/05
This is Excellent,I believe this would be great as a devotional/meditation piece to be read in a Church service or Bible study. God bless you in your writing.