At the threshold of the fourth year into the forming of ETW Ekklesia, we had our very first retreat as a family of God. It was a three-day-two-night prayer retreat in Changi Village Hotel. The leaders in ETW believed that we were near a watershed moment in the history of ETWE and the world as God has been speaking to them through many happenings. Changes also are taking place in the world’s political and economical arena albeit we, in Singapore, are still enjoying relatively peaceful times. As ETWE went through the teachings of Judges (e.g. Judges 10:1-5) during our worship services, we learn that peaceful times are meant to be preparation time for God’s people to grow in Him to face the difficult times that may arise in the future. This involves spiritual growth and physical preparation (see * for further explanation).
Prayer began on Friday evening and lasted till Saturday evening which ended with personal reflections and sharing into the night. There were cheery and teary moments.
The prayer sessions were interspersed with worship and short bible teachings. In the first two sessions, the bible teachings focused us on how to pray cooperatively in a group and listen to the Spirit’s leading. Praying in groups that formed spontaneously followed after that. The next prayer session revolved around end times preparation and so some chose to pray together as a family nucleus to seek God’s will for the family. From the author’s own experience, it was interesting to be praying with different groups of people as the group dynamics were different.
After a short break for dinner, we had a session of Torah reading followed by our ETWE Saturday service. During the service, we sang ‘Jesus at the Center of It All’, the theme song for the retreat, and by then a familiar song to us. A reminder that whatever we do, we do it for the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:23)! The centre of gravity in our life is Jesus Christ and, because we do not know the specifics even in the near future, we humble ourselves to seek God and His will for us individually and for the congregation in the prayer retreat. When it comes to the congregational sharing, it was very refreshing to see people sharing from the Scriptures and how the Spirit moved amongst us to affirm one another. (Retreat attendees have been given Scripture passages randomly beforehand). Several common themes shared were devotion to God in difficult times, trusting in God’s Sovereignty and Almighty Power and hoping only in Him to do what is right in the end times, God being our refuge and God being the Caregiver of the orphans and widows through the church.
Sunday morning was reserved for fellowship amongst the members of ETWE family. Some took to exploring the food ‘paradise’ nearby, some to swimming or walking on the boardwalk, and yet others were satisfied with just chatting.
For many, the prayer retreat was a refreshing way to close the year 2012. For one attendee, it was even more special as it had been an answered prayer. The prayer retreat, though successful, was only the starting point to stir in each of us greater diligence and discipline to a life of prayer in 2013.
The time of peace given to the judges and the tasks they should have been doing to reestablish worship of YWH
||In the Days of the Judges
||Re-establish the levitical priesthood and ensure the worship of God as Moses & Joshua has instructed
|Growing in God’s Word and knowing God
||Eradicate enemies in their surroundings as Moses & Joshua has instructed / prepare their people for future conflicts or emergencies
|Train them for spiritual warfare so that the people of God may stand in the days of evil (Eph 6)