The following guide is a simple retreat to help you reflect on barriers, relationships and practices, and discern goals.

PREPARE — Wrestling with big questions? Facing a life transition? Create your own retreat and rest in God’s peace. Plan ahead, even if just a day or two and commit to a period of time. Determine a place where you can be quiet and comfortable for a good stretch of time. You can adjust the pattern below for the time you have available.

SUPPLIES — Keep it simple. The Book of Common Prayer, a notebook and a pen may be all you need. You might want to take along a Bible and perhaps one other book to inspire you. If you desire, portable music, a sketch book ... and a snack or lunch, if desired.

PRAYER — Use the prayer rite on p. 4 or one of the devotionals in The Book of Common Prayer, beginning on p. 136.

REFLECTION — Consider the barriers that may be separating you from God, your fellow humans and your true self. Identify two or three that you desire to remove over a period of time. Be specific about how the barriers are separating you. Are you limiting God’s use of you? Do you fear change? Spend some time in meditation or, if you prefer, take a walk. Bring your mind to your heart. Be present with God.

PRAYER — Use one of the prayers for guidance (p. 832), then let your own prayer flow from there.

CONTINUE a pattern of reflection and prayer, moving to the behaviors that need to be changed to remove barriers. Set appropriate, achievable goals — this will become your discipline and commitment.

IN COMMUNITY — Decide on someone with whom you can share reflections of the day. Contact them and plan a time to meet. Reconciliation (to the right) may be appropriate, or you may simply ask your companion to hold your new commitment in prayer.


Reconciliation is offered through the ministry of each Christian to others, through the common prayers of public worship and through the priesthood. Private confession is not required by the Episcopal Church.

The accepted standard is all may, some should, none must.

Confessions may be heard anywhere, at any time. Common practice is to make an appointment with the priest for a visit in the office.

The personal retreat format to the left is a useful exercise prior to meeting with the priest.

The brief liturgy of reconciliation is found on p. 446 in The Book of Common Prayer.

Confession may be heard by a trusted lay person, who then will pronounce a declaration of forgiveness rather than the absolution given by a priest. The secrecy of confession is morally absolute for the confessor, priest or lay person.