I was a campus minister on a college campus for 3.5 years so I’ve helped plan and attended my fair share of retreats. There is so much prep work that goes on for retreats that no one knows about, but the most important part is praying for a good retreat!
What makes a good retreat?
Depending on the retreat you may have different definitions of “good.” A good outcome of a retreat is often measured by the number of retreatants. Other retreats I helped on we measured “good” based on past mistakes such as having enough food, making sure technology didn’t malfunction, and the schedule ran smoothly.
These are all good things to pray for as you prepare for your retreat, but they shouldn’t be the main focus. They are important in their own way because retreatants might get bored or feel awkward if there’s a lot of down time, especially if this is their first retreat or they don’t know anyone.
However, these small details miss the mark of what I believe to be a good retreat. A good retreat is when every person encounters Jesus and hearts are transformed. It doesn’t matter how many people were at the retreat if no one is coming home on fire for the Lord!
I have given you prayers for a good retreat. Feel free to customize them to your specific situation. If you have an upcoming retreat please leave a comment so we can pray with you!
Short Prayer for a Retreat
Holy Spirit, you are welcome in this space. Please help all who are gathered here today to be open to the movements of the Spirit. Help this retreat to encourage a radical transformation in our hearts. We hope this retreat is a time of restoration, joy, and mercy.
May all who are gathered here lay all their burdens down at the door. May this (day/weekend) be a time to focus on how we can grow as disciples and bring your light to everyone we meet. Thank you for this retreat and those who have worked so hard to prepare a sacred experience. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.
Prayer Before a Retreat (Staff)
Lord, we are preparing for our upcoming retreat. We hope it is a good retreat, one that is glorifying to You. First off I just hope that everything runs smoothly. I want the schedule to be as flawless as possible. Please let the technology work this retreat as well!
If there’s too much unplanned silence people might get uncomfortable or think it’s boring. Please let everyone arrive safely. Thank you for providing us with a beautiful space for this retreat to happen. Please keep the building safe and protect us from anything that might happen.
I just want everyone to come away with an encounter with you that is going to transform their lives. I want everyone on the retreat to be open to where you might be leading them during the weekend.
Help each person to lay down their worries at the door. Help them to forget about the guilt of leaving their family at home and just focus on what’s happening in front of them.
Bless those who will be giving reflections during the retreat. Penetrate their hearts so that they may know the words you want them to speak. May their words be your words. May they inspire the hearts and minds of the retreatants to love and honor you more deeply. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer to Start a Retreat
Good and gracious God, we are gathered here together to praise you and grow in community. Thank you to everyone who made sacrifices to be here (today/this weekend). I know leaving family and work isn’t easy, but we know it is for a greater good.
Help us to use this time for internal reflection. May we learn more about who you are, who we are, and who You desire us to be. Help us to lay down our fears and trepidations at the door.
This space is a place of overwhelming love and hospitality. Lord, please help everyone to know that they are wrapped in Your loving embrace. Chip away at our hardened hearts and allow us to be responsive to the promptings of your heart. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer Before a Retreat (Retreatant)
Lord, I am very scared to go on this retreat. Part of me really doesn’t want to go, but I know it’s just the part of me that doesn’t want to be uncomfortable. I know that you have called me to go on this retreat. Give me the reassurance that I need from you to feel confident going forward.
Help me to remember when Jesus called the disciples. All he said to Andrew and Simon was “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19, NIV). They left everything to just go and follow Jesus! They had NO idea what that was going to be like, yet they willingly went and traveled with Him and ultimately lost their lives for it. There’s no way they saw that coming.
I know that you are asking me to follow you onto this retreat. I have to leave my family for the (day/weekend), but I know I’m not going to die over it. I’m nervous about the unknown. Please calm my fears. Bring me peace and excitement instead of worry. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer During a Retreat (Retreatant)
Lord, I am starting to feel a little bit anxious. Things are going well, but I don’t really know anyone else here. I am making friends, but I miss my family too. I’m worried about everything that might be going on at home. Does my (husband/wife) need me? Are my kids okay?
Help me to put these foolish worries behind me and focus on what is going on. Everything this weekend has been curated to point us towards You and deeper intimacy with You. I crave more of You. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I’m excited to see where you are leading me. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer During a Retreat (Staff)
Lord, thank You for your goodness. You have blessed us abundantly with this amazing group of retreatants. I know they are seeking more. I know they are craving more of You. They have a longing and hunger in their eyes that can only be satisfied by You. Thank you for all you have done for us so far.
Please continue to watch over the mechanics of the retreat. May everything continue to go smoothly and if it doesn’t help us to have peace. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer to End a Retreat
Praise God for the many blessings He bestowed upon us (today/this weekend). May we use the grace and wisdom we received during our time together to benefit not only ourselves but the Kingdom of God.
We are so grateful for all the new relationships that were formed this weekend. It’s a supreme gift to grow together in intentional discipleship. Give us the strength to go out and make the changes in our lives that we need to, to better please and glorify You. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer After a Retreat (Retreatant)
Lord, I was so nervous going into this retreat. In the beginning, I was still tentative, but You showed up. You have chosen me. You have called me by name. I am Yours and I am ready to do whatever You ask of me to build up the kingdom of God. In Your Name, I pray. Amen
As you prepare for your retreat keep your end goals in mind.
- Personal Transformation: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV).
The main goal of the retreat is JESUS! You want each retreatant renewed in zeal for a personal relationship with Jesus! You want them to be excited about wasting time with their creator.
- Community: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV).
Community has been important to the Christian life since the beginning! You will want to get the retreatants plugged into different facets of your church after the retreat is over. Whether it’s a Bible Study, a family group, or a one-on-one discipleship session, you want your retreatants to want to dive deeper once the retreat is over.
May the Lord bless you abundantly before, during, and after your upcoming retreats!