This retreat is modeled after an annual retreat led by Amy Jackson at The Perch. The Perch helps exhausted people
connect with God to rest, find peace, and experience transformation. These experiences are used with permission.
Please consider checking out the wonderful ministry of The Perch.

Invitation #5: How does God want to work on your heart?

Materials: Clay
Time: 20-30 minutes

There is a consistent theme in the Old Testament. From Deuteronomy to the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, God demonstrates a desire to give us new hearts.

The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! (Deuteronomy 30:6)

“This is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

“I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.” (Jeremiah 32:40)

“I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

God, it seems, has a desire to work upon our hearts, to shape them in such a way that they might be tender and responsive, bent toward awe and worship, wholly obedient, and fully alive.

Spend some time now contemplating this truth. In your kit, you received a piece of clay. As you think about God’s desire to form your heart, use this clay. Play with it. Run it through your hands, twist it, or roll it in a ball.

As you work with the clay, reflect on one of the passages. Read it again and again. Think about it. Allow yourself to wonder. Notice where God is drawing your attention. You might choose to repeat the passage over and over. As you do, consider what thoughts and feelings it brings to mind. Also, what does God have to say to you in it? Give yourself five minutes to sit with the passage.

Now, turn your attention to this coming year. How might God want to work on your heart this coming year? Ask God and listen. What is God bringing to your attention?

As you listen, mold your clay into a heart. Take the next five minutes to work with your clay. Listen to the Lord and consider how God might be inviting you to respond..