There is a rhythm to a meaningful day of solitude. A whole day alone looks like a long time if you are not experienced in the use of time alone with God. But if you have a plan and follow it, you may be surprised at how fast the hours pass.
Elements of the Day
Eating (except for fasting)
Two Kinds of Experience in GodQuest
1. Experience the familiar in a new way.
2. Experience the unfamiliar with open mind and heart.
You will notice that the elements, or activities, of the day listed above include some very ordinary, familiar things. Sleeping, eating, and bathing are not omitted, because they can be experienced in new ways that reveal the goodness of God. Take your time as you do these things. Dreams and bread and bathing are gifts of God’s good creation. At the same time, do not hold back from stepping somewhat into the unfamiliar. If you have never spent an hour looking at the night sky, do it now. If you have never spoken aloud to God, as if God were seated or walking with you, add that to your day. If you have never taken a mid-morning nap or fasted over dinner, do it. Get up before dawn has even begun, don’t turn on the light, and watch the night yield to the invincible advance of the sun.
Making a Schedule while on Retreat
On retreat you will sit down with a pencil and paper, and schedule your day in half-hour long segments. You will start by marking out specific times for prayer: 30, 45, or 60 minutes prayer periods, two, three, or four of them. That time is devoted to God. Filled with meaning or seemingly empty, it is God’s. Then you’ll fill in the rest of the hours. Be creative. Use variety. But don’t follow that schedule slavishly. Let the Spirit lead you. Just walk with God these 48 hours.
(by John Stoner, Godquest, 728 Fulton, Akron, PA. 17501)