REVIVAL THROUGH RETREAT
Memorise: Wilt thou not receive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?Psalm 85:6
Read: 1st Kings 19:4-8, 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
Bible in one year: Matthew 23:37-25:30, Job 15:7-21
All human beings have an intense desire to connect to God. One vital element that is required to connect to God is a nice quiet atmosphere, devoid of daily concerns, where one can ruminate over spiritual truths. Meanwhile, it is often difficult to create such within the unrelenting activities of one’s daily life. This is why a retreat comes in handy. A spiritual retreat could be defined as a sustained period of quiet, uninterrupted time for a person to be reflective and receptive in God’s presence. It offers a time to leave daily concerns, to connect with one’s spiritual self, and to be attractive to the needs of one’s soul and spirit. People seeking for a time of retreat often locate a retreat centre or a specific geographical place that offers an atmosphere conductive for quite reflection. The search for spiritual retreat has taken many to Prayer Mountains and remote solitary places.
Mount Carmel is best known as the site of Elijah’s battle against the prophets of Baal. However, the fact that Elijah and Elisha frequently returned to Mount Carmel is an indication that they were using the mountain for spiritual retreat. The overall purpose of a spiritual retreat is to be transformed in whatever manner God chooses. Withdrawing to a place of spiritual retreat offers a time for refreshment and nourishment of life, a time to experience a continual sense of God’s presence that could become a constant reality in everyday life. Acts 3:19 says,
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord”
Therefore, a time of spiritual retreat is a time for sober reflection, repentance, rededication, revival and rejuvenation. The book of 1st Kings 18:20-46 showed us the structure and pattern of a spiritual retreat. First, Elijah rebuilt the ruined altar to Yehweh, symbolising repentance and rededication of Israel to God. Then, he dug a trench around the altar and poured 12 jars of water on the sacrifice, the wood, and the altar, filling the trench, symbolising the activities of the Spirit. Finally, he called on Yehweh, who answered immediately by fire that consumed the whole sacrifice, including the water, the wood, and the stones of the altar. This was immediately followed by heavy rains after three and half years of drought. There was great celebration as the people rejoiced in the Lord for a time of refreshing. A spiritual retreat always leads to celebration.
A spiritual retreat is also used a pursue personal holiness and to stay connected to God. Several passages in the Gospels according to Saint Mark and Matthew, give the account of Jesus retreating to pray. This point out the importance of spiritual retreating to Christians. Every child of God, as a matter of necessity, must constantly create time for spiritual retreat, seeking the face of the Lord for cleansing, renewal, re-dedication, and spiritual empowerment
Father, please revive me again, that I may experience a time of refreshing from above in Jesus’ name.