Taking A Weekly Planning & Prayer Retreat

Screen shot 2009-10-25 at 2.06.51 PMPhoto by renmeleon

Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3

Are you feeling overwhelmed or discouraged? I cannot express how much adding a simple weekly planning and prayer retreat has assisted me in maintaining a joyful heart in my homemaking! After feeling completely overwhelmed, physically exhausted, and being prone to be quick tempered with my children, I knew the enemy was trying to attack my joy and make me unproductive. I am realizing more and more how he seeks to attack me by discrediting my role and tempting me to compare myself with others.  After much prayer, the Lord led me to begin adding this time away as a regular routine in my life. Thankfully, my husband been graciously willing to watch the children for an hour or two every Sunday morning so I can get away and pray, refocus and plan. I have been doing this consistently for about a month now, and I have found such refreshment, renewed joy, and encouragement in the journey of homemaking and mothering. It has been invaluable!

I want to encourage you ladies to pray about how you might begin to get away for a short time on a regular basis, if not once a week, maybe once a month. Whatever works for your family. Just getting out of the house and sitting in our car with my Bible, notebook, and laptop suffices most of the time! Occasionally, I will go down to the local coffee shop or drive down to the waterfront and just sit in my car and watch the water. Sitting out in nature really helps me focus on the Lord.

Each week in my planning season, I start by thanking the Lord for each and every blessing from the previous week. I thank Him for how He has grown and challenged me in my faith. Then I begin to pray over the new week and for anyone in particular that He lays on my heart. What would the Lord have me do this week?

Then I begin writing in my simple spiral bond notebook. I make a basic to-do list with check boxes for the week and then assign the tasks to one or two per day. I keep my to-do list very basic. There is usually no more than 10 items on my to-do list, and they include various housecleaning tasks, errands that need to be done, etc. I then proceed to evaluate how I can be useful for the Lord this week. How can I practically be productive and fruitful not only in my homemaking but also for the kingdom? How can I serve my husband? How can I reach out to one person this week? I try to find one way to serve or express appreciation to my husband (whether it be a note of encouragement on his desk or in an email), and one way I could minister to someone this week. Is there someone that could use a note of encouragement? Is there a neighbor I could invite over to dinner?

After completing my to-do list, I make a menu plan for the week. I base this off my monthly menu plan, but simply choose meals from it to prepare for the week. I will jot down any notes in relation to the meals and any preparation that needs to be made in advance, so I don’t forget! ;)

I also write out a basic blog post plan for the week. Then I take some time to read the Word, pray again over my to-do list to make sure it lines up with the Word of God, my priorities in this season of my life, and to dedicate my week to the Lord. I also like to take time to pray for my husband and children.

Having this time of peace and solitude allows me to refocus on the Lord, what he has assigned me to do, and to acknowledge my complete dependence upon Him. It has been a huge blessing! My weeks in turn have been so much more peaceful and productive. Ultimately, it is not about the to-do list, but more about renewing my soul in the Lord. I want to run in such a way as to win the prize and please my Lord. I want to do my work heartily as to the Lord. If I am stressed, I need to step back and take time to pray and re-evaluate what has gone astray in my life. This simple weekly retreat has accomplished these things for me right now.

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) The Lord is ultimately in control of all things!

Do you take a retreat on a regular basis? How do you practically plan for the week?

Originally published October 26, 2009

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

59 Responses to Taking A Weekly Planning & Prayer Retreat

  1. Heather January 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Thank you for this.

  2. Vinae January 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks for re-posting this. I read this two years ago and it has recently been coming to my as something I need to do now that my life is crazier than ever.

    How has this change for you as your family has grown? Do you incorporate your school schedule for the week into it as well?

    With adding a baby to our family and starting to homeschool this year, I’ve felt at a loss every week on how to get things accomplished, so this comes at a good time for me. Thanks for the re-post and encouragement.

  3. LuAnn Braley January 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Obviously this post has been touching hearts for some time! And it has touched mine today.

  4. Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) January 23, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Thank you for such an inspiring post. I have been feeling very overwhelmed these past few months and realize that I have been neglecting to spend sufficient time with the Lord – giving my anxieties over to him and seeking out his direction for my life, even down to the little details. I will definitely be making the time to do so from now on – I just needed reminding! Interestingly, a friend mentioned that very scripture (Prov 16:9) to me the other day – it seems I really needed to hear it! Thanks again.

  5. Maria January 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Lindsay, thank you so much for linking back to this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I can feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me through your words.

    I recently quit my job to stay home with my 19 month old son and am pregnant with our second child due in September. I am beginning to feel overwhelmed in my homemaking and am also quick to become angered and frustrated with my son and husband. I think that having time like this away from the house alone would allow me the freedom and peace to regenerate my patience and love for the week.

    Thanks again!

  6. TeeJay September 7, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    What a wonderful idea. I definitely need to do this! I’m still a single, but what a great opportunity to begin “training” for married life. ;-)

  7. indoor water fountains August 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    A refreshing point of view written in a compelling and interesting way. Nice.

  8. Kayla April 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Wow! Thank you for this! It is exactly what I need to be doing. I have been feeling very frazzled, stressed and like life is chaotic right now…I have a feeling this is my solution! I need to go back to giving my week/day to the Lord. So often I let life get in the way and it ends up like this every time! Thank you for redirecting my focus! This is just what I need for this time in my life

  9. Emily March 1, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    Oh, yes, and even to what we eat! As we know the Lord will clothe and feed us, but more especially when we turn to him in humility asking him to guide and provide!

  10. Emily March 1, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    I love this post! I love the thank you prayer and opening to the Lord to live our lives, from service, family, homemaking, to spiritual. This post will help me.

  11. ali February 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    I know this is an older post, but I just stumbled upon it today and have been blessed to find this encouragement! I have been working on this very thing and cannot fathom how I have managed to make it this far without times like this!
    Times of refreshing are so nourishing to a busy woman’s mind, heart, and soul! May I never neglect refreshment again!

  12. amanda February 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    what a wonderful idea! sounds so refreshing-thanks for sharing!

  13. crystin November 30, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    Wow. The Lord truly knows what we need and when right? I’ve been so overwhelmed and disoucouraged lately that I’ve gradually distance myself from God. I know I need a time like this in my week to regain stregnth, peace, and focus on God. And that weekly time will encourage me to keep pursuing God daily. Thanks for posting something so practical yet spiritual altogether. This and your blog (which I just checked out today)are a huge encouragement to me.

    • Meg December 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

      Crystin, I could have written exactly what you wrote! I am frustrated and overwhelmed, cranky with my 2 kids and realized I am farther from God than just a few months ago. I hope to use Lindsay’s tips and hope you are successful, too!

  14. renata November 2, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    Dear Lindsay! I am so impressed with your posts, thank you for being you! You have actually inspired me to start working on my homemaking skills and turn it into an art. God bless you and your family, keep on posting! Renata@trulivingnow.

  15. Stephanie October 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    I began doing this about a year ago and what a difference it has made! I notice how much better I feel and how the week goes when I stick to my planning day. Thank you for sharing this. I love seeing how others do their planning!

  16. Kristin October 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Great reminder…thank you!

  17. Gretchen October 27, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    This was absolutely wonderful. I think this is a wonderful idea. I always go to your blog for spiritual encouragement and practical advice. I truly love your blog and am thankful you take the time to write it.

  18. Amanda October 26, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    Isn’t the Lord amazing in His perfect timing? I really needed to be reminded to do this today!!

  19. bethany canfield October 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    Love your blog girl! And I can relate to what you say on so many different levels. Thanks for sharing your heart with your readers- and from now on I most certainly will be one of them. Blessings.

  20. Jana Pedowitz October 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    Good stuff! We are working in our house to develop a sabbath routine. We are laying ground rules about how and what God wants us to rest from and with. This post was an excellent reminder of the need to rest and the need to have a set time for organization. I think I have been trying to combine the two and have not been successful. Thanks for this very valuable reminder!

  21. Mrs.Pear October 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    Thank you for the encouragement to find larger chunks of time with God. Life is suddenly very chaotic with some scary dr’s appointments coming up, and I really do need more of God.

  22. Rachel October 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Thanks for the great tip! I love your posts. They are always so inspiring, encouraging and full of helpful tips!
    This is a great idea and something I need to do!

  23. Emily October 26, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    Lindsay, it such a blessing to be a subscriber to your blog! This was an inspirational post and it is funny how you brought up comparing yourself to others, as I was groaning inside (beating myself up) because I am hardly ever this organized. I am working on it and establishing a Jesus-focused life. I realize even though I thought I had been, in actuality, I had been making excuses and distracting myself. You are truly a blessing, thank you for sharing your walk with the Lord.

  24. Faith October 26, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I, too, am loving the benefits of a weekly time of escape! Just last month I blogged about my experiences with this practice and what a blessing it’s been to me. Most specifically I’m thankful that my husband has been so quick to support and encourage my outings – he makes it all possible! As a result, our whole family benefits.

  25. AutumnHarvest October 26, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    Hi. I just stumbled upon your beautiful site. I read in someone’s comment that you shared your courtship story. Is that still here? I’m very curious about what you and your husband created together. Can you point me in the direction of that? Thanks!

    • Lindsay October 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

      Yes, you can read our courtship story here.

  26. Hallee October 26, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    That is very nice. My husband is in Afghanistan and my 1-year-old does not stay with anyone well, so I don’t have the opportunity to take the time away. I highly encourage anyone who has the ability to do so. There is nothing like going in public and not having to worry about pushing a stroller or holding a hand or fixing someone’s plate other than your own.


    • Melissa October 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

      I’m a military wife and understand the need to have time to myself while my husband is gone I pray that you find people to help you out!

  27. Andrea @ The Train to Crazy October 26, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    What a great idea! I think getting away would be so refreshing. I can truly say I NEVER get to get away. Living far from relatives and having a husband that works very long hours can make it difficult to find that refreshing time. I think the challenge for me is trying to create that refreshing time within the confines of my home. I need to find a time and a corner to “get away.”

  28. Michele @ Frugal Granola October 26, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    I do this too! I usually go to a sunny corner in the library. :) We don’t have internet at home, so this is when I do all my blogging for the week (schedule posts), get online recipes for our menu plan, and read any online devotionals I’m going through. This quiet focused time really helps!


  29. Felicia Eis October 26, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    A dear friend posted a link to your blog on Facebook and I was so excited to see the pot that you have up today as it is something that I have been trying to implement into my own life but was not sure where to start! I would love to re-post your post on my blog for my readers if that is okay with you.

    BTW it sounds like our families have much in common as you and I are working toward the same goals womanhood wise and we someday would like to be on the mission field in a technical way (my husband is a computer nerd). We hope to someday join up with Mission Aviation Fellowship on their tech team.

    Hope to get to know you better and I so excited to get to read through your blog!!!


  30. Kin_dom October 26, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    hi, I just had a question for you;
    you being a young woman and all, haven’t you ever had a rebelious side to you? now youre into God and your family, being the perfect little wife, but have you always been like that?

    I myself suffer so much from having a split personality, it hurts my heart so much becouse i dont know what to beoleave in.

    • Lindsay October 29, 2009 at 9:46 am #

      My dear friend, I honestly did not know how to respond to your comment at first and wanted to put a little more thought into it. I definitely was actually a very rebellious girl as a child. I probably was the worst amongst my 7 siblings. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. But when I became a Christian (at the age of 12), the Lord did an amazing work in my life. He changed me from the inside out. Since I have surrendered my life to Christ, I honestly have never really had a desire to be rebellious. I am so consumed with the Lord and want to follow hard after him all my life. This is not to say that I don’t struggle with sin and disobeying His commands (as I describe her with my sinful inclinations towards anger and frustration with my children)…but the Lord is always at work in my heart changing me and transforming more and more into His likeness..its completely a work of grace and God gets all the glory! I am a work in progress…but I love the Lord and want to demonstrate my love for Him by loving the world and serving others! I do this in order for others to see that Jesus loves them…and because He loves me I am able to demonstrate love to others. But good works do not earn my salvation. In fact, the Bible says my good deeds are like filthy rags to the Lord if done just trying to be a good person. Any goodness in me is really just Jesus in me. Since becoming a Christian, I am no longer ruled by sin. Christ paid that for me and now I am clothed with Jesus’ righteousness. This is so freeing to me! I would encourage you my sister to really pray and evaluate where you are with the Lord. He can change you too, but again it is completely a gift of grace! I hope that makes sense. Email me if you would like to discuss this further. God bless you!

  31. Christine October 26, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    This is an awesome article and very encouraging! I watch two babies almost every day of the week in my home. They are both a month apart so it’s like having twins! My husband and I don’t have our own children yet (we are patiently waiting on God to bless us) but God has put me in a wonderful position to stay at home and minister to other women in our church who are working and in need of baby care. It gets very overwhelming at times, since I also work for our church as an admin and I have my own sewing business. All of that on top of being a housewife and cleaning and taking care of my husband. Things do pile up and its easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed. This really encouraged me and I’m hoping that I will be disciplined enough to implement it in my own life! I’ve linked your wonderful blog to my website (http://pureprovidence.blogspot.com/) so that others can read it and be as encouraged as I have been by all of your entries. Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouraging words and tips to help us as housewives be more effective in the home and more glorifying to God!

    • April October 26, 2009 at 10:40 am #

      I am so excited to find another nanny! I take care of a two year old boy 5 days a week in his home. I am also married and we do not yet have any children of our own. My husband is currently in seminary getting his masters. I would love to hear any suggestions you have about being a nanny. It is kind of overwhelming for me because I help take care of two households, but I love my job and I know that God has put me here for a reason which makes me so excited!! I long to be a stay at home mom one day, but just like Lindsay talked about in her post, I am trying to do my best at what God has called me to now.

      • Christine October 27, 2009 at 8:50 am #

        Yes I too partially take care of two households, my own and partially one of the babies’ parent’s homes. Both his mom and dad work full time so I tend to his laundry, make his baby food, and things that relate to taking care of him within their house. I go there Mon, Wed, and Fridays until 12 and then he comes to my house Tues Thurs all day.
        It’s also very overwhelming at times too because the 10 month old baby I watch and her mom are currently living with us. They go to our church and were in a bad situation where they were living before. So I’m taking care of others in our household as well that we normally do not have.
        Being a nanny I struggled with trying to keep my house completely spotless every day. It just became WAY too overwhelming and I wasn’t paying much attention to the children. I have since sort of scheduled out my day, spreading my household chores throughout the week instead of trying to do all of them every day. It has made things much less stressful! I also try to plan out the meals I make for my family each weekend when I go shopping. That way I buy the things I need to make certain meals and its all planned out for the week. I would love to hear your suggestions and experiences with being a nanny as well!
        Are you and your husband trying to get pregnant right now? I’ve written so much on here and would like to talk with you more. My email is [email protected] if you would like to email me.

  32. Samara Root October 26, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    Thank you so much Lindsay for this post. I logged on this AM to come to your website and find your last post on this topic. It was so helpful and timely! But I read this one instead and was so blessed!

    May God bless you.

  33. Amy Ruggiero October 26, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    thank you for this reminder-the Lord has been moving me in this direction also.

  34. Deborah October 26, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    Great post Lindsay! I try to create as many peaceful moments in my day as I can. As the mother of a special needs child I must do this and I deserve it as well. It took me a while to realize this. Now taking care of myself is as natural as taking care of my family. It maybe a walk in the woods with my dog, a long bath with nice essential oils, a cup of coffee or glass of wine out on my patio. I use this time to see the beauty of God’s creation and prayers of gratitude.
    I spiritually evolved when my husband was deployed to Iraq. God brought me to my knees during this time. I could not get enough prayer as I could air to breathe. It was then I started collecting things that brought me peace around the house, such as indoor water fountains, aromatherapy candles, family photos, statues and I started listening to relaxing cd’s. I also became interested in Feng Shui which put me on a path to a more organized and aesthetically pleasing home.
    God brought him home safe and sound! I will forever keep my daily prayers and meditative practices to keep my sanity. In my opinion once a week or once a month is not nearly enough. I hope you all make the time. You do deserve it!

  35. Brittany October 26, 2009 at 7:21 am #

    If I don’t have some sort of plan or schedule, I can get depressed. Even organizing a simple time to sit down and say thanks to God, or to study His word makes me feel better than just randomly sitting down and doing so. I completely agree with your post. Although I haven’t been able to practically plan for the week ahead since we’re nearing the end of my pregnancy! LOL

  36. Jen October 26, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    Being able to get away and refocus is a blessing. I like to copy sermons on my mp3 player and go for a 30 minute or so walk. The exercise is good for you, clears your head, and you are in God’s creation which naturally sets the tone for worship. By God’s grace my heart is renewed and refreshed to tackle my role as wife and mother when I step back in the door. Sometimes I use the time to pray and listen to the birds sing and marvel at the changing leaf colors.

  37. Stacey October 26, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    This sounds like exactly what I need. Thanks for sharing :) Especially now that my 4 year old has decided he doesn’t need a nap anymore, I feel like a frazzled mom. My goal for today is to keep my temper in check. THat in itself is going to be quite the task at this point. Thanks for the encouragement!

  38. liz October 26, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    could you perhaps share what items help keep you organized? I looked around some of your old posts but I couldn’t find specifics on how you organize your meal planning, calendar, etc. thanks!

  39. Jodie October 26, 2009 at 6:14 am #

    What a great idea! With 4 little ones and recently switching to making as much as I can from scratch I feel very overwhelmed! We also homeschool and I get very few breaks of time by myself. This sounds like a wonderful idea!

  40. Leslie October 26, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    I love how you always emphasize what you should be doing during this season of life. I am guilty of over planning for myself, whether it be housework, or doing other things, I am often stressed and exhausted. And recently God has been speaking to me and telling me it’s because I expect to much of myself. I have a 3 yr and and 9 mo old, which I nurse and he still gets up at 2 or 3 times a night, so I am often tired during the day. This is so uplifting to me to realize I don’t have to do as much as others may do right now, as long as I am doing what God wants during this season.

  41. Shannon Hazleton October 26, 2009 at 5:45 am #

    Thank you for this post. It was exactly what I needed this morning. I have been so guilty of sitting down and (under exhaustion, stress, and frustration) trying to make a plan for my week. It is such a good reminder to first thank the Lord, and commit my week to Him, asking Him what HE wants me to accomplish for the week. I have tried a few times to implement the scheduling techniques found in the Maxwell’s book Managers of Their Homes, and it has been daunting and overwhelming. I believe the strategy you have would really suit me better at this time and help me be successful. Thanks for sharing.

  42. liz October 26, 2009 at 5:32 am #

    great idea. I have been thinking that I need something like this. enjoy your blog.

  43. Sarah Peters October 26, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    hi there,
    once again, thank you for your website. i look forward to it every day!
    you mentioned sunday morning as your time to get away. just wondering how that looked in light of going to church also on sunday? thanks again!

    • Lindsay October 26, 2009 at 9:30 am #

      We are actually attending a church service in the afternoon, which gives us the morning at home. If we were attending an AM service, I would probably do my planning in the afternoon or early evening, or maybe even Saturday night if necessary.

  44. Amanda October 26, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    Thank you for the reminder! how quickly i forget my need for the Lord in my planning! Thank you for all the time and thought you’ve put into your blog–I have benefitted immensely!!

  45. Zofie October 26, 2009 at 4:27 am #

    Thanks for writing on this topic! I have been completely overwhelmed with work, school and family. I am going to give weekly planning and prayer time a chance at both work and home. Thanks again!!

  46. Courtney Crosland October 26, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    I currently teach part time and am having our third child in February. My husband and I have decided that it would be best for our family if I stay home after I have this baby. One reservation that my husband had was will I be able to handle being home all the time? We’ve tried it before and I got very anxious/depressed. I think this weekly planning retreat might be the answer! I think every momma NEEDS time to herself (and with the Lord) in order to serve her family to the best of her ability. Thanks for sharing this!

  47. claire drumm October 26, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    Thanks Lindsay for your honest transparent heart this is a great idea as there are many days that I feel the way you do. I am going to pray that I can get this time once a month and that my husband would like this idea. Thanks again for your blog!

  48. Jodi October 26, 2009 at 4:15 am #

    Incredible post! Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for being the Lord’s messenger to me.

  49. Kristen October 26, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    How timely this came! I have been on this path of homemaking/healthier living for about 2 years now. I’ve been married for over 11yrs. but I say, 2 yrs. because it wasn’t until then, I realized where my place actually was and what my task as a servant of the Most High really was. It started with a strained marriage and reevaluating my life and purpose. My sis in law gave me a marriage book, which opened my eyes to how I was treating my husband, even if some things were justified, I still needed MY walk to line up with the Word of God. Then came the life changes! How I felt called to not only honor my husband with my responses but also how I handled my children, my home, everything! I am so thrilled, even as I write this post, I look back on what God has done! He is awesome! But even in this joy, I do too, find myself stressed, over anxious, nerve racked on all this things I’d like to see change/or done and how much I still lack! This post is such an encouragement, Lindsay! Thank you! I think a good thing to do is not focus on how much you need to do, but take a look back and realize how far He has brought you!His love is so great and mercies are new every morning.

    • Deanna October 29, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

      I would love to know the name of the Marriage Book that your sister in law gave you. I am always looking for good reads to pass on.

  50. Shannon October 26, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    What a great tip. I did this for a while about a year ago and have since fallen away. I really need to get started again. Thank you.