Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God
"Come away and rest awhile."
Jesus invites us to be with him, offering our full and undivided attention to him. When we choose retreat, we make a generous investment in our friendship with Christ. We are not always generous with ourselves where God is concerned. Many of us have tried to incorporate regular times of solitude and silence into the rhythm of our ordinary lives, which may mean that we give God twenty minutes here and half an hour there. And there’s no question we are better for it! But we need more. Indeed, we long for more.
In these pages Transforming Center founder and seasoned spiritual director Ruth Haley Barton gently leads us into retreat as a key practice that opens us to God. Based on her own practice and her experience leading hundreds of retreats for others, she will guide you in a very personal exploration of seven specific invitations contained within the general invitation to retreat. You will discover how to say yes to God's winsome invitation to greater freedom and surrender.
There has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant, so needed and so welcome. It is not a luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual life.
Also available on Audio CD
"Early on in Ruth Haley Barton's Invitation to Retreat, she levels the chilling diagnosis: 'If we are honest, many of us have given up hope that we will ever be rested.' Far from hopeless, however, Ruth lays out the comprehensive antidote. From her insightful analysis of just what is making us so tired, to her incredibly inviting description of 'strategic withdrawal,' to the copious practical retreat materials and suggestions, this book might be the first thing you pack for your next retreat. Like a consummate wilderness guide, Ruth paints an enticing picture of the destination then patiently leads us every step of the way."
—Jim Martin, vice president of spiritual formation at International Justice Mission, author of The Just Church
"I have had the great privilege of attending retreats led by Ruth Haley Barton on more than a dozen occasions. Because she knows the demands of ministry firsthand, her invitation for pastors and leaders to retreat is an urgent one, with a singular focus: to have a fresh encounter with God for our own soul's sake. Invitation to Retreat lays a foundation for the necessity of retreat, but it also serves as a guide for those who have the courage to accept the invitation itself."
—Steve Wiens, author of Beginnings, and senior pastor of Genesis Covenant Church in Robbinsdale, MN
"This book offers practical guidance and astonishing insight into the physical, psychological, and spiritual dynamics of intentional solitude. Thank you, Ruth Haley Barton, for sharing your well-earned wisdom about listening to the heart of the Creator and the authentic self."
—Mark Scandrette, founding director of ReIMAGINE, coauthor of Free and Belonging and Becoming
"Many years ago when I was just a few years into ministry, I took my first spiritual retreat. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't know what to do. But more than that I didn't know how desperately I needed it. Ruth led the retreat. Since that first retreat to this very day, Ruth has been a friend, mentor, and advocate for my soul. She has invited me and led me time and again to places of rest, replenishment, and retreat.
This book is the embodiment of how she lives and leads. It is an echo of the invitation given by Jesus to simply 'come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' You need this book more than you know. Trust me. You do. And if you are willing to say yes to this invitation to retreat, I believe that you will find a burden that is far lighter than you have made it and a Savior who is far closer than you imagined."
—Jarrett Stevens, copastor of Soul City Church, author of Four Small Words