This guided retreat is based upon Psalms 131, 132, 133, and 134.
Welcome and Settling In—about 15-30 minutes
Take time to prepare the space, locate bathrooms, coffee and other essentials; set up emergency contact instructions and any other business. You may want to post a “Silent retreat in progress; please do not disturb” sign. Pray for each other, together, before you enter into silence. Keep your conversation brief!
Come into the Lord’s Presence—10 minutes
“The Lord is in His Holy Temple; Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Take 5-10 minutes in silence to consciously settle yourself with the Lord.
- Leave behind the burdens, issues and distractions you brought with you. Picture yourself laying them at Jesus’ feet, or giving them to Him to carry (I Peter 5:7). Resolve that when other distractions arise, you will turn those over to Jesus as well.
(Note: if, during the day, you remember something you need to do later, write it down and put it aside, so you won’t be distracted by trying to remember it.)
- Notice what is happening in your body: are you sleepy, tense, fidgety, sick? Offer your body to the Lord at this time as well.
- What hopes or fears are you feeling as you anticipate the silence in God’s presence? Bring those to the Lord as well, remembering that He loves and welcomes you as you are.
Greet the Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with this prayer, or your own:
“Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Book of Common Prayer, p.355
Come into the Courts of the Lord with Praise—20 - 30 minutes
Read Psalm 147 slowly, to yourself—or aloud, if you won’t bother anyone! This Psalm is full of things to thank God for. Personalize each phrase, and give God thanks and praise. Take time to praise God in ways that are familiar—and then try one or two ways that are not so familiar or comfortable. Here are some ideas:
- List everything you can think of that you appreciate about God
- Study an object from Creation, and marvel at God’s handiwork
- Sing a hymn
- Go on a God Hunt (walk and praise God for what you see)
- Write a poem or a psalm
- Draw a picture
- Write a letter to God, or a letter of recommendation about God
Meditate and Reflect on God’s Word—three periods through the day
Today the focus is on five Psalms: 130, 131, 132, 133, 134
For each segment, read the psalm, using Lectio Divina (divine reading, outlined below) and then use the reflection questions provided with the segment. Take extra time between meditations to rest, take a walk, write in your journal, or in other ways enjoy the Lord.
- Read (lectio) the passage slowly, listening for God’s voice to you in the text. Read again, and try to identify one word or phrase that stood out to you, that caught your attention.
- Meditate (meditatio) or “chew on” the passage, looking at it from different angles, and using your mind, imagination, feelings, memories. As Mary did with the Angel’s greeting, “ponder these things in your heart.” You may write in your journal (or draw).
- Pray (oratio) in response to the text. Talk back to God about what He has said to you. You may express thanks, or wonder, or doubt and questioning, or conviction or confession—whatever is on your heart to say to God.
- Contemplate (contemplatio) or simply rest in God’s presence, soaking in what you have heard and seen and felt. Don’t try to do anything, but just savor the encounter with God and with the truth of His word. Quietly, when you are ready, ask God to show you how to live out what you have received.
Meditation 1—Come as You Are: Read Psalm 130 and meditate using Lectio Divina
“Out of the depths, I cry to you”
Where are you, as you come to the Lord? What is on your heart? Are you experiencing miry depths, or are your feet set on a rock, secure? Try to articulate your feelings, and express them to the Lord. Use similes and metaphors to express your feelings.
“With you there is forgiveness”
Take time to let the Lord search your heart, and expose sins that need to be confessed. Bring them to him and receive His forgiveness.
“With the Lord is unfailing love”
Thank the Lord for his forgiveness and for all the aspects of His character that are highlighted in the Psalm.
Meditation 2—Rest, Wait, Hope: Read Psalm 130:5-6, 131 and meditate on it.
Imagine the feeling of a toddler, running in from play-time to jump into its mother’s arms. Unlike a baby who is desperate to nurse at mother’s breast, the weaned child comes to the breast not for food, but for comfort and shelter; for reassurance. Settle yourself in with the Lord, set aside the things that are “too great and too marvelous” for your limited brain, and rest in His loving embrace. Take your time to enjoy His comforting, sheltering love.
The Biblical concepts of “wait” and “hope” are closely related. The psalmist waits with eager expectation and confidence for the Lord. Waiting is both passive, in that you can’t do anything to make the thing you are waiting for come any faster by waiting; and active, in that you are alert, and you focus your whole heart and attention on it, “more than watchmen for the morning.” Take a significant amount of time to be still and “wait on the Lord.” You may need to “still and quiet [your] soul” as the psalmist does in 131.
What is your hope? Who is the Lord you are waiting for?
Meditation 3—Ask for what He promised: Read Psalm 132 and meditate on it.
The Psalmist in Psalm 132 recalls God’s faithful servant David, his heart for the Lord, and his desire to establish a holy place of worship for the Lord in Israel. He also recalls the Lord’s covenant with His people. Take time to recall God’s covenant with us that was sealed at the cross in Christ’s blood. What has God promised? Ask Him to fulfill those promises. Ask Him to show you how to pray for His Kingdom to come in your life. Pray that your heart will be a more suitable and holy home for the King of Glory.
Closing Meditation—the last 30 minutes
- Read Psalm 133 & 134; psalms of celebration and praise. Take time to enjoy the Lord and give Him thanks and praise. You may want to outline a plan to celebrate God’s goodness with some friends.
- What will you take home with you? Is there a clear next step that God has put on your heart? Write it down in your journal.
- When will you plan another Rendezvous with God? What worked well, and what would you do differently?
In the last ten minutes, meet with your fellow retreatant(s) and share your experience as you feel comfortable. Take care to honor each other’s quiet state and the privacy and intimacy of the day. For example, ask, “is there anything from today you want to share?” rather than, “What did God say to you?” Together, give thanks to God and pray for protection as you go back to the “real world.” You can pray the Lord’s Prayer together to close.
Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory,
For ever and ever, Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Printable Version: Rendezvous with God #2-PDF