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"We exist to train God-hungry people in the disciplines of prayer."
by Dick LaFountain

A Study
Retreat with God

"Did not our hearts burn within us while we walked with him..."

As a pastor I have found that it is important to get away from our every-day routine to spend time alone with God. This is your calling according to Acts 6:4

We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word."

Notice the priorities set by the Apostles. First, we are to give ourselves to prayer. That is the top priority. Second, we are to give ourselves to the ministry of the Word.So every pastor appointed by God has God-given priorities. Nothing should distract you from this, not visitation, evanglism, missions, or administration. You are to train othersto do that would of ministry, as the Apostles appointed deacons to deal with the every day stuff of ministry. Delegation is necessary if you are to fulfill your calling.

One one of my personal prayer retreats a pastor friend asked to to join me on my three day retreat. No sooner had we arrived and had our lunch than he had a phone call fromone of his elders telling him that a parishioner was in the hospital and he needed to come home to visit that person. He immediated said he had to go since the elders expected itof him. Thus he never had time to spend time alone with God. His priority was visitation and pleasing his elder's expectation.

I took the opportunity to encourage him to preach from Acts 6:4 and to teach and tell his leaders that his God-given priority was prayer and ministry of the word. Then follow that preaching with training his elders and deacons to care for visitation when he was away of a prayer reteat.

No only do pastors need times of prayer alone with God (I encourage my pastors to discipline their calendars to spend 3 days away 3 times a year for this purpose.) but theyalso need to spend extended time in study of the word. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study (do diligence) to show yourself approve unto God as workman that needs not be ashamed,rightly dividing the word of truth." I find it necessary at least once a year to spend a three-day period seeking the Lord for the preaching schedule for the year, or atleast for the next six months. I will also chose a book of the Bible to ready, study, and outline during this time. That way I know what the Spirit is saying to the church andwhat I should be preaching.

I also use this study time to read books that I have not had leisure time to read in my daily life. I find that through books other pastors minister to me. I might even take along a sermon series by one of my favorite preachers, to edify myself. You see, I don't usually have time to do this in my daily pastoral routine, so it is necessary. Aftermany years of ministry I have seen fit to do this twice a year. It has helped my ministry and fed my spiritual life.