Determine how long you want to be on a personal Christian retreat. I suggest a minimum of three hours. Take water, a notebook (or spiritual journal), your Bible (a paper copy), and pens. Unless you have health issues or will be gone much longer, don’t bring anything else.
I’d add one exception: If you’re going on an extended personal Christian retreat of four to eight hours, you may want a book or two challenging you to godliness. One good example is Paul Tripp’s Dangerous Calling. But try not to touch such a book for at least the first several hours. The Word of God is the one book you need.
This isn’t a time to prepare a lesson on the Bible, though some ideas may pop into your head and you may certainly jot those down. This is a time to draw close to God.
If you’ve never taken a personal Christian retreat, three hours can seem like an eternity. You may pray for everything you can imagine yet discovering only 30 minutes has passed! We hurry through so much of life. This isn’t a time to do that. This is a time to rest, to reflect, to give thanks to God. Sit at the table with the Lord and dine. This may require some growth.
A time of spiritual preparation and cleansing. Begin your time by considering the following questions. But first, a few points:
Rest in the gospel. Your time with God today does not earn favor with God. Rejoice in the fact that God has accepted you through Christ’s work on your behalf. Spend this day reflecting on the great love of God. In response to His great love, seek to know Him more intimately, serve Him more faithfully and hate sin more completely. Think much of the beauty of the world God has created, of your sin and its evil, of the grace of Christ in the gospel, and of the hope of the restoration.
Pray the prayer of the psalmist: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Be totally honest as you answer each question. Agree with God about each need He reveals in your life. Confess each sin, with the willingness to make it right. Repent from sin! Turn from every sin the Lord reveals in your heart and forsake it. Praise God for His cleansing and forgiveness.