In approaching the retreat, these are the needful questions to consider:
- Introvert or extrovert?
- Sensing or intuitive?
- Thinking or feeling?
- Judging or perceiving?
- Within those, what are their experiences of prayer? Boxed in or Free? Exciting or Frustrating?
- Which types of prayer have they experimented with?
- Is free time a reward or anxiety?
- Is time a structure to defend against anxiety or depression?
- When was your last day off? What was that like?
- When were you last without technology for an extended period?
- How do you express creativity and when do you do this most often?
- What life-stage are you in right now? Single? Married? Engaged? Parenting? Pregnant?
- Who is dependent on you?
- Have you moved recently, changed relationships, lost a loved one or gone through any other major transitions?
- What is the most stressful part of your home-life right now?
4. About Focused Intimacy with God
- How do you spend time with God most often?
- When do you feel close to Him?
- When have you leaned the most on His strength?
- When have you felt that He abandoned you?
- What do you feel about Him right now?
- What are you hoping from this time?
- Is there anything you think should definitely happen on this retreat?
- What types of things do you think God does on a retreat?
- What would be the most disappointing thing that could happen on this retreat?
6. Experiential Knowledge
- How aware are you of your body’s needs? Do you consistent have enough/lack sleep?
- Do you eat consistently and healthily?
- Do you exercise consistently? When do you do this? How often and how long?
- Do you live high paced and crash or low paced and consistant?
- Have you fasted? What from/How long? How did that affect your body?
- What is your hygiene like? Do you wear make up? Do you dress modest or immodest? How much time do you spend in the bathroom getting ready?
7. New Experiences
- How do you react to new experiences? Are they exciting or frightful?
- Are you an adventurous person? Do you take big risks? Or are you slower, cautious?
- What do the words risk and change make you feel?
- What have your experiences with silence been?
- Was your family quieter or louder in temperament?
- Was silence a punishment for you or a gift as a child?
- When you’re quiet, whose voice do you hear loudest?
- What is it like for you to hear the voice of God? How do you discern that from other voices (i.e. your own, satan, voices of the world, parents, friends, spouse etc)?
9. Defenses and True Self
- Can you list of some of the ways you push against God in your life?
- What are some of the areas of weakness your friends or family have told you?
- What are some of your biggest areas of worry, anger, fear, resentment, bitterness, hopelessness, regret etc?
- What is your first reaction when conflict arises? What areas of your life have conflict now?
- What parts of you do you think are most acceptable to others? Why do you think others like you?
- Do you ever have thought you think other cannot handle?
- Do you ever feel that certain thoughts or feelings are unacceptable?
- What wouldn’t you pray about? Or talk to God about?
- What are the times you feel most at rest?
- Are you on any medications? (esp depression, diabetes, etc)
- Are you in therapy now? What does your counselor think about you going on retreat? Do you need a check in? What does your spiritual director think of you going on retreat?
- Have you recently thought about hurting yourself? Have you had any suicidal thoughts?
- Do you have any major disabilities, mobile, mental, emotional etc?
- Do you feel safe being outdoors at night? Have you had threatening experiences of being alone or outdoors?
- Do you have any food allergies? Diet issues? Anorexia? Bulimia? Over-eating? Anemia?
- Can I have an emergency contact number for you? Is there someone I can give the contact number for the retreat center? (spouse, parent)
- Do you have any children or dependents at home? Will they be at risk without you there?
- Are you the head of house, will anyone be in harms way while you are gone?
- What will you being coming home to? What is your first activity or plan right as you arrive home?
- Do you have a car or means of transport to the center?
- What language do you speak? Do you struggle with English? Do you struggle with directions?
- What is your financial situation? How much can you afford for a retreat?
- When do you spend time alone during your week?
- What are your biggest distractions? TV, Cell Phone, Ipod/pad/phone? Movies? Alcohol?
- Are you affected by the presence of other retreaters?
- What types of things calm distractions for you? Ocean? Trees? Mountains? Creek? Sun? Snow? Rain?
4. To Bring
- Do you have a favorite pillow, blanket? Do you like fresh linins? Do you prefer certain weather? Do you hate bugs? Are you afraid of the dark?
- What is important for your comfort?
- What comforts might distract you?
- What are you past experiences of retreat? What are you worst/best experiences?
- Is there spiritual warfare going on in your life right now?
- What have been/are your biggest fears of going on retreat?
- Do you have any questions for me? Or things I need to know?
- What does Jesus love about you? What is it about you that Jesus treasures?
- What is precious to Him about you?
- When is a time you’ve experienced Jesus treasuring/smiling at you?
- When are the times you most experience His love? When are you most open with Him?
- When are some times that you’ve heard God’s speaking to you? How deep in you heart did that hit you?
- How does God speak to you? Symbols? Numbers? Singing? Scripture? etc.
- Have you experienced the movement of the Spirit in your life? What did it look like? What was your reaction?
- What does Jesus weep over with you? What has been hard in your life?
- What are areas full of life in you right now, what are areas full of death?
- What does Jesus feel about those things?
- What are some of the needs or desires you’ve brought to Jesus recently? Has He responded? How?
- What do you love most about Jesus? What do you long to know more of from Him?