5 ways to create a prayer retreat



Jesus depended on prayer.

Whether it was before a wilderness experience or when he was making a big decision, or perhaps praying for the sick, Jesus was often seen withdrawing to lonely places to pray.

Our Savior was attuned enough to know that if He was going to pour out to real people and walk in a real world, that He needed to fill up. 

So, if Jesus was smart enough to know that He needed this, why are there times I just keep running on. . .

    empty, empty, empty?

If you joined me from Encouragement for Today devo, I’m so glad you are here. In today’s devotion, I shared how I just kept on trucking until I was depleted.

Did it mean that I stopped pouring out? No, I just kept on going. Everybody knew I was exhausted spiritually and mentally. . . but me.

My husband asked me to go on a prayer retreat, something we’d never done.

When we returned I was filled up! It made me question why I let myself go so long with so little?

What I took away from that experience is not that I need to get away twice a year with my husband on a prayer retreat, though it was an amazing time, but that I need mini prayer retreats often.

Right in the midst of real life with my calendar and my schedule and my family.  

How do you create mini prayer retreats right where you are?

Be intentional

I have a Google calendar that syncs with my phone. I get pop-ups with my to-do list and appointments and conference calls.

But am I just as intentional with the One who loves me so much?

When we are intentional, it’s not about adding it on to our calendar as a task, but as an invitation.

Even as I write this, I am looking at this month’s calendar. When will I create a time just for me and my Savior for a prayer retreat? This is not my daily time with him, but set apart time to fill up this empty girl whose tendency is to just keep on truckin’.

Be creative

parkMaybe it’s an hour at the park. Find a bench and sit quietly in His presence. Rest in Him as you hear children playing. Note His creation around you. How big is God? Quietly begin to thank Him and hold out your heart for Him to fill.

Get a sketch pad. No, really, it’s awesome. Keep it tucked away, sacred, just for you and God. Invest in a few paints, vivid colors, and worship Him as you paint. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you express your needs, your gratitude, and your joy at being His daughter.

Go to a local church or worship center that is open for prayer. I googled this and found a community prayer room in my own area. It was amazing to walk into a sanctuary set up and open all day just for those who desire to pray.

Find a lonely place in nature. In this instance, lonely isn’t a bad word. It’s one devoid of technology, of clutter. Recently I drove 30 miles to a Natural Falls area. I have driven by this many times. I saw the signs, but didn’t know what was down that road. It was stunning and beautiful and quiet and serene. I sat on a bench and soaked it in, praying and asking God to sit beside me.

Pray with a friend who loves prayer. In one instance, Jesus sought out his disciples to pray with Him. I have a friend named MaryKay. Recently she picked me up at the airport in North Carolina, and that two hour drive between the airport and my destination became a retreat on its own. She loves praying, and in her presence I sensed what God can do when you seek Him out. She encouraged and lifted me up, and I treasured it.

Don’t make it a chore

It’s not about a word count.

It’s not about format or how you approach it.

It’s simply knowing that you’re thirsty and He offers living water to fill you up.

I’d love to hear more about your prayer retreat. What might that look like? What do you need from God as you intentionally walk toward all that He has for you?

Second, if you are new to my blog and missed the recent 30 Days to Intimacy, I’d love to invite you to check it out. It offers 30 days of a friend walking with you as you carve out time for just you and Jesus.







  1. Joanne Peterson says:

    I need this. We have adopted two very needy preschool sibling boys and no matter how early I get up, they then get up themselves. If I let them in their room, they trash it, and they no longer nap. I need other time because I am on empty.

  2. Delores Bethel says:

    I was really blessed by you sharing about your prayer retreats. We have every month a special time of prayer at both of our churches called The Fourth Watch Prayer and it is from 3am to 6 am on Saturdays and it is a time when our women come together in prayer , praise,worship and sometimes just sit quietly in His presence and it has been awesome!

  3. I’ll have to work on this. It’s a great reminder to get time away with the Lord, alone and pray.

  4. Hello Suzie,
    I love your spirit and your posts. I really relate to you very much. Thanks for the reminder that I need to sit and be still with Him.

    Glenda Daw

  5. Love this devotional today! Thanks for the reminder to “re fuel with prayer time “. Sometimes I like to “take a walk with Jesus”. I wake up really early, leave my iPod and iphone at home and just walk and talk to Jesus (not out loud- I wouldn’t want to alarm my neighbors) but I thank Him for His Creation, His faithfulness to me over the years, i discuss issues and struggles I am going through, and I try to be quiet and listen for His voice. Sometimes, I can actually feel His presence beside me, and it is beautiful. Besides getting some morning cardio in, I feel more connected when I start my day.

  6. This was perfect encouragement, Suzie.

    I cannot deny that I pray to the LORD daily. I do so multiple times. I value that. I NEED that connection. But even though I do that, I don’t know that I have ever scheduled or taken an extended, dedicated prayer retreat. Wow! I can imagine how invigorating it would be.

    Thanks for blessing me with this gift that is surely meant for my growth.

  7. Monica Pimentel says:

    What a great devotional! I too have been truckin’ on empty for way too long. I’ve lost my one on one time with God. Living here in south Florida I’d love to take advantage of the beach and start taking prayer retreats there and see the sun rise. Beautiful view and a great way to wake up with the Lord.
    This is the day the Lord has made and I will be glad and rejoice in it.

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