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May 7, 2024 / by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem

What do we do in the summer?
Well, lots of good stuff.

  • Grill outside
  • Go on vacation
  • Spend time by the water
  • Renew special family traditions
  • Enjoy our favorite outdoor hobbies
  • Take rides with the windows down
  • Turn on the AC!

But here is something to consider. How about devoting one day this summer for a special time of prayer? A personal retreat day? However you can manage it, however it can fit into your circumstances and schedule, here are some practical reasons why we should take pains to do this:

  • We can fulfill the need to spend some extended time with God, as we see in Scripture. We all have this need. Even the Lord Jesus did this.
  • We can take inventory of our own lives and gain some perspective – where am I in my Christian living? Where does God want me to be?
  • We can repent and hunger for God afresh.
  • We can catch up on some important intercession for ourselves, our families, our ministries.
  • We can pray fervently and seek for answers to long standing prayer requests.
  • Maybe we need to prepare spiritually for something big that is coming.
  • We all need a periodic boost in our quest for godly living.

So how do we do a personal day of prayer? Well, first we have to develop a plan. We make elaborate plans for summer vacations, surely we can plan a day with God. Maybe prepare some reading, and a provisional schedule for the day, including some worship music to listen to, and an outline on what we hope to accomplish.

There is no need to spend every moment praying. I like to divide such a day with seasons of reading, music, scripture, and then breaking up the prayer times into praise, repentance/confession, petitions, and thanksgiving.

Then find a place and a time. Hopefully a place and time in which we can be alone with God and unbothered. Shut the phone off. And finally seek to have some balance between an organized day with planned activity, prayer lists, and then also some degree of spontaneity. Let God work.

If you like to walk, walk. If you like to be sedentary, be sedentary.

Some of the obstacles to a good day of prayer are hurry, fatigue, self-reliance, faithlessness, addiction to noise, and a defeatist attitude. Don’t make it into work. And recognize that if we give time to God, He will come to us afresh.

On the other hand, a sincere season of prayer can increase holy desires, awaken us again to godly pursuits, diminish the power of the flesh and sin in our lives, lead us afresh to experience God’s grace, and help us increase our devotion to God, as we exercise the muscles of faith.

So what could be a better summer activity than a personal day of prayer?

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 2:18)

Pastor Jeff VanGoethem has been in pastoral ministry for 40 years, including nearly twenty as Senior Pastor of East White Oak. He has returned to East White Oak after pastoring for some years in Dallas, Texas to serve as Associate Pastor of Spiritual Development and Missions. He is married to Karen. They have four daughters and four grandchildren.

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May OakLeaf Articles:

This Summer, Memorize Scripture by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Serving Neighbors on our Swing Set by Abigail Waples
Plan a Personal Day of Prayer by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Summer Activity to Enrich Your Walk with Jesus by Chuck Blystone
Faith Nurturing “Rainy Day” Activities by Whitney Sherrill
Summer Reading that Helps You Grow by Monica Ball & Brenda Thompson
How to Have a God-Honoring Vacation by Pastor Traig Whittaker