Yesterday I took a one-day spiritual retreat, and I wanted to tell you about it. Spiritual retreats are essential for pastors and highly encouraged for all people. The best pastoral wisdom I’ve heard on the matter is the one-one-one-one rule: spending one hour a day with the Lord in solitude and silence; taking Sabbath one day a week; retreating one day per month, and one week of the year. Although I agree with this general rule, I’ve not followed it fully. It doesn’t seem possible to do so at this stage in life. Is it fair to leave my wife and family for one whole week for a spiritual retreat? Probably not at this point. But after taking a one-day spiritual retreat this week, I’ve decided to work harder at this spiritual discipline. There’s just too much blessing here to pass up! Imagine gathering first thing in the morning with a few people to worship the Lord in prayer and song. Then going off to your room for a time of personal Bible reading and prayer. Just sitting quietly for 15 minutes, listening to God. Then opening up his Word. Reading various texts as prescribed in my spiritual retreat guide. Then resting in God’s presence for an hour. Then writing out a prayer of response. Then going for a 30-minute walk. Then having lunch. Then returning to your room to read Richard Foster’s book on prayer. Then practicing Simple Prayer. Then going back to Scripture. Hmm. I wonder what I should read? And then finding yourself in 1 Peter, and reading it through slowly, listening to the Lord speak through it. Then praying for God’s guidance in pastoral ministry and for the week ahead. Then meeting with your fellow retreaters for a time of debriefing and closing worship. That was the basic pattern of my one-day spiritual retreat. What a blessing! Having tasted once again that the Lord is good, I take him with me as I leave, and now with certainty that he’s with me, as I felt him on retreat! So now you can understand why I feel called to take spiritual retreats and why I plan on being more consistent with them this year. Have you ever taken a spiritual retreat? If not, I encourage you to try it. You’ll be glad you did!