Each spring since I’ve been at Florida State, The Navigators have gone on a prayer retreat to spend time seeking God. Each one of these has been different. I don’t mean that the activity has been different. In fact, of all the things we do year after year, this is the one event that follows the same structure each and every time we go. We arrive on Friday night and start praying. We spend all day Saturday praying. Then we spend Sunday morning in prayer. When I say each one is different what I mean is that God says and does something unique each time. This time was no exception.
I’m fond of saying that this is the most important trip our ministry takes each year. Conferences and road trips are great, but nothing can hold a candle to setting aside a 40-hour period toward to pursue God. As I reflect on college I realize now that the most important things I learned were life patterns that I could put into practice outside of college. One of those was the practice of getting away from life every now and then to seek God for extended periods of time, and the very first time I did that was for the prayer retreat in 2003, my freshman year. That weekend was led by Vic Black, the National Prayer Director for The Navigators. It was the very first time I had ever heard anyone talk about generational sin, which was the topic the Lord led us to that weekend.
I missed last year’s pray retreat on account of my cousin’s wedding, so I was really looking forward to this trip. Vic Black was once again leading our time, his first prayer retreat with us since 2005. He actually started things off by giving the message at Nav Night the Thursday before the trip. Friday afternoon he had lunch with the staff to prepare us as facilitators for this retreat. Vic is a great teacher. He’s also an extremely open man. These two qualities make him one of my favorite Nav staff.
The retreat itself had an interesting flow to it. The major themes of the weekend were God’s faithfulness, the Lamb of God (Revelation 5) and the Cross. One striking thing about the retreat: we never really asked for anything. In the past we’ve petitioned God for something as a community, either for our friends to come to know Jesus or to be free from sin in our lives or something of that nature. But not this time. The entire weekend was praising God for who He is. As staff we even went so far to put a chair in the middle of the room on Sunday morning, saying that if anyone wanted prayer for anything they could come up and we’d pray for them. No one took the offer. We spent that morning praising God. This amazes me still!
Prayer retreats are also fun because we get sort of goofy. One thing that’s turned into a tradition is that we always get Dave Wirgau – our head campus minister – to play the guitar and sing for us. He does it reluctantly at first, but he really gets into it.
Anyway, this year I captured the magic on video. I’m sad to say that the service I used to upload that video has since shut down.