Throughout the course of this retreat, as promised, you’ve been exposed to—and sometimes thrown into in—just a few of the spiritual disciplines. But the fact is, every spiritual discipline is a form of worship. It’s a way of being intentional about recognizing God’s “worth-ship.” And as you’ve hopefully discovered in a deeper sense, they get us out of our own way so we can see and appreciate God for who He is.
In this final session, we’re going to focus more on worship in the more “conventional,” outward sense, as well use the above disciplines, with Revelation as our guide. We need to always remember that our lives are prep time for eternity. Right now, we’re being prepared to live forever in God’s presence. Just thinking about that should help us look at our lives here differently. Thus, we’ll also consider what God still has in store for us here—how we can serve the world He’s placed us in, for His sake. So let’s begin to pick up our new life in Jesus, put it on, and walk it out.
Take 15 minutes to think and journal on these questions:
- Out of the activities you’ve done during this retreat—study, prayer, silence, confession, “alone time with God” (and fellowship and service, if you’ve been with a group)—which have helped you connect with God the most? Why do you think that is?
- Which disciplines would like to spend more time with? How can you become more deliberate about doing so?
- Think about a meaningful time or season of worship (of any kind), or of closeness to God, that you’ve experienced. What made that time so meaningful to you? What did it feel like? How did it affect your thoughts and actions?
- How has your idea of what worship is (and isn’t) changed during the course of your Christian life? How has your own approach to worship before God changed, as a result?
Read Revelation 7:9–8:3. Then read it again. Once more, if you need to, to get the whole picture of what’s taking place here. Then move on.
We’re not going to observe an entire half-hour of silence, but we are going to take a few more minutes to just sit and be silent before God. Close your eyes, and put yourself in the middle of this passage. Go from being an observer to a participant, because that’s what you’ll be one day. Meditate on this passage until you can truly see yourself there.
Once you’re ready to leave the scene, take at least 10 more minutes to reflect on these questions:
- How did you feel as you reflected on this scene? Were you excited? Uncomfortable? Scared? Or did you have a hard time resonating with it at all? In any case, why?
- Regardless of your answer, how does (or should) knowing our eternal future with Jesus help us make worship—however we do it—a higher priority in our lives?
- How easy is it for you to accept the idea that you’re created for God’s pleasure—and that God delights in growing you even further? Explain.
Before you move on to the next section, spend some time worshiping God, in whatever you’re comfortable doing. But do something audible and visible before God—maybe even shout, cry, and fall on your face. Get ready to become a part of what you’ve just experienced in Revelation 7.
Then, read Revelation 21:1-7, 21:12–22:5. Again, take as many times as you need for the images here to sink in.
Next, think once more about the people you’ve reflected on during the course of this retreat. (Those reading this for the first time can look through the previous entries below.) Consider this: They, too, with be with you for eternity. In fact, you’re going to spend eternity with every believer who’s ever walked the earth. Then, take 15 minutes to reflect on these questions:
- How can remembering your destination enable you to begin living eternal life more fully right now?
- Where is it most apparent to you that you’re not yet “one who conquers”? How can the One who has conquered help you in that battle?
- Even more important than you: Who are the “conquered” in your life right now? Who needs joy? Healing? Comfort? A sense of God’s presence? Refreshing? A sense of their value to God? How could God use you to help bring that to them? Be specific.
Take at least 15 minutes to pray in response to that last question. Ask God to build upon and expand the vision He’s begun to place upon your heart. Ask Him to guide you to those people that either you can come alongside or who can come alongside you, or both, depending on your situation.
Try to have an extended time of worship between you and God to close your retreat time. Pray, sing, talk… give whatever you can give to God. When you feel you’ve done that, thank God once more for your time together, and then get back out there—because eternal life starts now.