, | 25 Jul 2023 | by GEM Spiritual Life

Retreat vs. Day with God

“A day away with God” or “spiritual renewal day” are the terms that we use most often in GEM (Greater Europe Mission) to denote a personal retreat day. This is a day in which we pull away from our everyday routines and responsibilities to be undividedly present with God. We might find a place in a park or library, or simply stay at home, but it’s important to find a way to keep ourselves from being tempted to jump back into “normal” life. During this extended time with God, we have more space to meditate on God, his word and his work, and it’s a time to experience a quietness that is often difficult to achieve in everyday life. It’s a day of refreshing or renewal.  

A retreat is usually more extended (1-5 days) and more secluded which allows us to distance ourselves from work, activity, responsibilities, and relationships. It is best to find a location away from home and to not go into this time with a big agenda, but to let God set the agenda. This is a time that the whirling of life settles down and we can more clearly discern God’s perspective and voice. As we remove ourselves from the social pressures to preform or respond in a particular way, our soul can feel safe to be known by God and ourselves. This can be a great time to ask, “God, what do you think of me?” and listen for God’s response.  

Biblical References: Ex. 34:29; Ps. 23:2-3; Mark 6:31, Luke 4:1-2  

For more on retreats:  

Individual and Group retreat guides: Leadership Transformations Resources 

Book: Invitation to Retreat by Ruth Haley Barton 

GEM Links: GEM Wide Spiritual Renewal Days and Spiritual Life Retreats