Today was prayer retreat day. This is something I've found super helpful for years though I don't take the opportunity as often as I wish. New year is a great time for it. My friend Ivor kindly let me use their church building a couple towns from us as my retreat centre. Guitar, journal (aka. computer), bible, place, time, all set.
I'm in week four of five weeks off from classes at seminary(!) which is a ridiculously long time to be off. But it's been perfect in our world to have some family time after the busyness of moving and full on school and life in Scotland the previous three months. And a time to do some serious catch up on the backlog of stuff left undone / procrastinated relating to our move... my to do list is long but I'm chipping away at it. (I will not bore you with the details because most of it is boring!) And a chance to finally talk with friends back home we have not had opportunity to for so long!! (PS we'd love to chat -message us!)
But today it was a gift to stop simply to worship, pray, walk, meditate on Scripture, read and write in my journal, look at the year ahead. No lightning bolts struck, angels appeared, or audible voices spoke from heaven. God was just present.
As a human being I am such a work in progress and I was deeply blessed reflecting on a verse that has been coming at me relentlessly the past month - Philippians 1:6 - "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." It was good to intercede for the church in Scotland and to feel again the heart of God for this nation, his people, and those he wants to bring into his family. It was good to pray for my family, confess my failures, and ask God to shape me as a husband and father. It was good to lay some fears down before God and find some answers to questions. It was good to be reminded what a good, good Father I have, and that he is God and I am not. It was good to settle into accepting God's simple call to trust him, do good, and wait for him - Psalm 37.
I'll be home soon, and it will be all out mayhem as per usual with four kids... not to mention me and Agnes! My to do list is waiting for me. As well, I've had plenty of college work to do on this break - attempting to read through half a dozen books, keep up my Greek, and I'm gearing up to enter an essay competition, only because they don't give us enough homework at seminary (lol yeah right)!
Now it's time to go home.
Was it worth it to stop? Take a whole day? What did I accomplish? Pretty much nothing I can measure by ordinary standards.
But my heart has been recalibrated a little closer to the reality of the kingdom of God. I prayed for people I love and I carry a conviction that God is answering. I tasted God's goodness in worship. I am deeply grateful. These intangibles are priceless.
Yes it is worth it. I hope I remember that the next time I hear the call to set aside some time. I trust that the One working in me will give me the grace to say "yes."
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