Again and again throughout His lifetime, we see Jesus withdraw from the crowd and from His own disciples to refresh Himself in prayer. Just before embarking on His ministry, He went off into a solitary wilderness to pray for 40 days: Lk. 4: 1; Matt. 4:1; Mk. 1:12. Soon after lunching His ministry great multitudes of people started flocking after Him to hear him, to be fed and to be healed. Physically and spiritually He felt exhausted and needed to take a break to refresh and to refuel His spirit, and so took off to a mountain side to pray. Scripture records that after one of such retreats that He gave the greatest, longest and most powerful oratories The Beatitudes Matt. 5, to a mammoth crowd.
Other instances when Jesus retreated to quiet and solitary places to pray and receive strength are also recorded in Lk. 22:39; Matt. 26:36; and in Mk. 14:32.
The reason for this foundational preamble is to underscore the spiritual essence and significance of prayer retreat in the private life of an individual, and in the corporate life of the church as the body of Christ. In KCP which is a strong Bible believing church we try very hard to follow in the footsteps of the Master. That is why Prayer Retreat is a very prominent feature on our church calendar. Twice every year, we take off for Prayer Retreat to a solitary mountain Retreat Camp miles away form our base. Usually it is a two or three day affair, Friday to Sunday morning. We pray, praise and worship all night with a short three hour break. The program also includes Bible study, Bible quiz, discourse and ministration. Sometimes we also do praise dance and dance competition to rebuke sleep and boredom. Sometimes also we take a short bus drive or walk for sight seeing round the camp environs.
Mothers come along with their children, and for the kids it is also a very rewarding experience from the madding crowd and their cosy home environment. At that early age children begin to inculcate the spiritual value and discipline of prayer retreat in a solitary “harsh” physical environment. After every Prayer Retreat, we do an evaluation of the experience using a well structured questioner. The result has always been very positive- that it was good, that people wish for more of it, and that it was very spiritually beneficial.