Retreating Forward

When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. —Matthew 14:23

A friend told me about his church’s leadership retreat. For 2 days, church leaders pulled away for a time of prayer, planning, and worship. My friend was not only refreshed but also energized. He told me, “This retreat is really going to help us move forward as a church ministry.”

It sounded funny to me—this notion of retreating in order to move forward. But it is true. Sometimes you have to pull back and regroup before you can make meaningful forward progress. This is particularly true in our relationship with God.

Jesus Himself practiced “retreating forward.” After a busy day of ministry in the region of the Sea of Galilee, He retreated. Matthew 14:23 tells us that “when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” Alone in the presence of the Father.

In this fast-paced, get-ahead world, it’s easy to wear ourselves down—pressing ahead and moving forward at all costs. But even in our desire to be effective Christians, we must consistently be willing to retreat into God’s presence. Only in the refreshing of His strength can we find the resources to move forward in our service for Him. Retreat in Jesus before moving forward.

To face life’s many challenges
And overcome each test,
The Lord tells us to take the time
To stop. To pray. To rest.

Sper

Alone with the Father is the only place to find the strength to press on.

By Bill Crowder

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