Renewal and Community: Inside the CP&R Retreat Experience

Center for Prayer & Renewal (CP&R) is the official prayer ministry of the NOW District. For those unfamiliar with this group, they write weekly prayers for the NOW Facebook page, support at conferences and conventions (look for them at All Workers coming up in October), and host an annual retreat each January in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

This year’s retreat took place Jan. 22-24, with nearly two dozen in attendance. As longtime attendee Nori Anderson put it: “In participating in this retreat, I strengthen the spiritual disciplines of prayer, study of the scripture, personal and corporate worship, fasting, meditation and get to spend time in fellowship with others for meals, prayer together, and in-depth learning of a topic. I can’t overstate the value of this time each year and the sustenance it brings me.”

And that is the special thing about CP&R: They intentionally create a space to engage in meaningful prayer practices. It is an opportunity to experience respite and focus on spiritual wellness. Rev. Dallas Dubke from Faith Lutheran Church in Monmouth, Oregon has been part of CP&R since 2014. He now serves on the leadership team, assisting with everything at the retreat from facilitating group discussion and prayer to leading worship times to preaching.

“Being involved with the group has been a blessing for a number of reasons,” Dubke said. “I have appreciated being able to help provide an environment for refreshment and renewal around prayer with people who love the Lord at a place that is well suited for prayer and reflection. It has been a blessing to work with fellow staff members who value prayer and who continue to learn and grow in the disciplines of prayer and the study of God’s word. We also have fun serving together!”

Some may wonder just what the prayer retreat is like. It is divided into two groups that meet simultaneously: Phase One for first-timers (Emmaus) and Phase Two for those returning (Koinonia). Emmaus gives people an opportunity to write their own brief spiritual autobiography, explore solitude, and learn about and practice Lectio Divina as a group. Koinonia was created as a follow-up to the first phase, with less structure, more individual opportunity to develop goals, and includes such things as Praying in Color. For both groups overall, the retreat just brings a chance to experience rest and renewal.

“Over the course of the retreat, participants experience group discussion and prayer, (depending on the year) learn from a guest speaker on the retreat topic, receive time for individual prayer at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center and the beach, have opportunity to meet with a prayer partner, fellowship over meals, and participate in worship and devotional times,” Dubke said. “I believe that one of the purposes of the retreat is to provide an environment for people to be able to intentionally find respite in the Lord through prayer and His word, that they would be refreshed and renewed to go forward in the life and vocation that God has called them to live, being equipped to serve Him with His strength and joy.”

Lutheran Latino Ministries President Pam Bridgehouse is another member of the CP&R leadership team. She noted an additional aspect of the retreat that makes it so special: the relationships.

“The atmosphere of the retreat is one of care and mutual support,” Bridgehouse said. “It is a safe place where you can open your heart and speak freely about pains and joys and questions and tragedies and triumphs in your own life and be supported by the prayers and concern of others. That concern lasts throughout the year, not just during the retreat. When we return to the retreat, others will ask about a particular issue that you brought up the previous year and ask how you are doing and how things worked out because they have been praying for you. Participating in the retreat, you become part of a blessed network of care and encouragement.”

These relationships, the chance to experience real renewal, and the opportunity to share in one another’s spiritual growth are some of the biggest blessings of CP&R. This is part of what makes the group so unique.

“CP&R has been a huge blessing in my life over a decade,” Dubke said. “Over the years, I have kept a prayer journal with thoughts and ideas from the retreats, and at one of the more recent retreats, I had the joy of sharing with the group how the Lord had answered one of my prayers in a significant way. They got to see the fulfillment of the Lord answering prayer, and it was a joy.”

Right now, leaders are working out details for the 2025 CP&R Retreat, which is scheduled for Jan. 20-22. Keep watching for more info, including a link to online registration and the theme announcement (“spiritual warfare” is one idea being considered).

“By signing up for a prayer retreat, it provides an intentional opportunity for respite and growth,” Dubke said. “Many of us would agree that it is important to find rest and renewal in the Lord, though we don’t always make the time. The CP&R Retreat provides such an opportunity in which you will also find encouragement from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are in a similar place that you are, desiring to seek the Lord and find rest and renewal in Him.”

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