Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God

This entire book gives the reader encouragement and permission to enter into a regular time of retreat and rest. The author, Ruth Haley Barton, notes the sources of our exhaustion and then goes on to give examples of what retreat might look like, as every person is different, and the ways we rest and restore ourselves are different, too.

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There is a point in every military leader’s command when he must discern when to call his troops to a military retreat, a strategic withdrawal away from the front lines of battle to give his men a much needed rest. The smart commander knows that in order to run a successful campaign, his soldiers need sleep, food and rest from the constant barrage of the enemy’s attacks. This image, is the wise comparison that Barton draws as she makes the case for the need of every Christian to “strategically withdraw” from the busyness in their lives; to follow the Father’s invitation to retreat, to go to a quiet place as Jesus did and rest. “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15).

Of particular interest is the chapter on relinquishing false-self patterns which can cause unnecessary fatigue as we strive to keep them alive. Each chapter ends in a “Practicing Retreat” self help for the reader who is either preparing for – or on – retreat. The Appendix includes a template for Fixed-Hour Prayer and suggestions for planning your own or a group retreat. Simply reading this book is restorative, giving you a sense of peace, finding words for the sometimes indescribable longing in your soul.     

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