Retreat Activities for Beginners

12 August 2019
Guest Author

Retreat Activities for Beginners

by | Aug 12, 2019

Helen’s Headlines

Management, governance and individual resources with a personal touch

Retreat Activities for Beginners, by Helen Calder, was peer-reviewed by Anne Douglas, Eremia Christian Retreat – Coromandel

Photo of Whangarei Falls footbridge by Tim Swaan - available from

Have you wanted to get away on retreat but not been sure how you’d use the time? Here are some simple ideas to help you. Find somewhere for the day, for a 24 hour overnighter or ideally to include two nights so you can include a full day.

No need to do all the activities below.

For the most part there’s no particular order.

Have a flexible plan.

Aim to spend a maximum of an hour on each activity,

though it’s fine to go on longer if you are finding something helpful.


Before you go ask a few trusted friends to be praying for you while you’re away: that you will hear God clearly.


Take time to settle in, find your room, unpack your things and take a stroll round the house and gardens to familiarise yourself with what’s where plus places and times for meals and any services.


Near the start of the time it may be helpful to journal/write in a notebook where you’re at. This could include: Questions for God, Decisions to make, Current challenges, how you are feeling.


Have a time of thanksgiving and praise to God for your life to date. You might like to record some of these in your journal too.


Sit in the sun, take a nap, pause regularly for a hot or cold drink.


Talk with someone on the team of the place where you are staying who can listen to you and pray for/with you. You may need to book a slot in advance.


Try a Bible word chase: using search for Bible verses that include words like guide, guidance, direction, choice, faithful. You may like to add other words. Jot the verses that seem most relevant down in your journal. There may be promises you want to claim from God.


You might like to paint or colour the words of a particularly meaningful Bible verse or a relevant word e.g. future, new, direction. As you paint or colour be alert to what God may be saying to you.


Go for a walk beyond the grounds, maybe to the park or the beach. You may want to use it for a conversation with God or to focus on what you can see or hear or smell!


Take time to daydream about your dreams/aspirations, your heart’s desire. What do you think is the desire of God’s heart for you?


Allow time to sit quietly and listen to what God may be saying to you. Again you may like to write it down.


Keep some time at the end of your retreat to review what’s happened, reread what you’ve journaled, make a list/plan of anything you are now going to do and commit it to God, giving thanks to Him for this time out.

May God bless you as you take time out with Him.

Helen’s Headlines are short resources with a Christian ethos

Produced by Helen Calder, Helen’s Headlines are short resources with a Christian ethos for anyone involved in leadership of a Christian charity or church, especially smaller ones. With 40 years of experience, including 17 years as executive director: finance and services at the Evangelical Alliance, Helen is well-placed to share the lessons she has learnt during a career in industry and the Christian charity sector.

Each resource introduces key points on a topic, often including a checklist for action and signposts to more detailed information on the subject. They cover aspects of the following areas: governance, strategy, management and leadership, money, personal matters and end of life.

All Helen’s Headlines resources are available for anyone who finds them useful. This includes trustees, staff and volunteers of charities and churches, as well as individuals.

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