Taking Time with God

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“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” – Luke 9:28

Dear Friends,

As you’re reading this, I’m either on route or already at the annual gathering of my seminary prayer group.  Starting with orientation and Summer Greek in 2004 and continuing on into classrooms, flag football fields, living rooms and even basements, we became fast friends during that formative season in our lives.  We’ve kept this up for nearly twenty years from Texas to Washington, New York to Florida, gathering annually to check in and catch up, have some fun and pray for one another.

I’ve talked about this gathering with you over the years, and it’s always one of the most life-giving experiences of my year.  Over time, the activities we’ve done together have shifted, but our time of sharing and praying has remained the central glue for all six of us.  And I thank you for the gift of this time – an extended sabbath, a mini-sabbatical each year.

It’s different from vacation, at least the way we often treat vacations.  Although maybe it’s a better model for vacations that we could adopt.  Sure, we travel away from our regular lives.  We engage in activities – active and leisure – that we may not get to do on a regular basis at home.  We try to enjoy some good food together.  But… how many of us sit around and take an hour to re-cap our year with five other people… and allow them to ask deep and probing questions… and then invite them to pray for us?

The more I talk about it, the more I wonder if I need to consider vacationing like this with my family too.

In fact, the more I write about this, the more I wonder how many others would like to have this type of experience too?

Later this month I’ll be traveling again for the second gathering of my Spiritual Formation and Direction program… and I feel like these two things are coming together.  Maybe you’re connecting with it as well.  Maybe you’re beginning to recognize a tug on your heart or a whisper in your ear for some experiences like this.  Maybe the Women in the Woods sounded intriguing (or you went and it was!) – maybe you’ve noticed a hunger to get away, to rest, to receive from God, to pray and be prayed for…

Let me say two things.

First, listen and lean into that.  I’ll trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you and that in time God will open some doors.

Second, I invite you to let me know.  I may be able to be of some help and it just might be that there are more people than we realize, whose hearts are being stirred in this way.

There’s a long and fruitful history down this path – Jesus would steal away regularly alone, but he also took a handful of disciples to do the same.  We all know how valuable that would be.  The same can happen today.

Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus,

Pastor Don