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The Power of Pilgrimage to Experience God's Wonder

Photo by Brigitte Werner (ArtTower) on

A pilgrimage is a journey you take to grow spiritually. It’s a deliberate act of devotion – a trip into the unknown with the intention of drawing closer to God. Throughout history, many people have gone on pilgrimages to seek God in fresh ways. Taking a pilgrimage is a powerful way to experience God’s wonder.


I try to go on pilgrimages as often as I can. Usually, I simply take a day trip somewhere close to home, but sometimes I travel on a longer trip to farther away. Pilgrimages don’t have to be time-consuming or expensive – although it’s worthwhile to visit a special faraway place when possible. My favorite pilgrimage so far has been to Mount St. Michel in France, which has been a destination for pilgrims since ancient times. I share the story of my visit there with my family in Wake Up to Wonder. French people call Mount St. Michel La Merveille, which translates to “the wonder.”


A pilgrimage invites us to leave the distractions of our daily lives behind and enter into a space of heightened awareness. Every step of a pilgrimage becomes a prayer to encounter God’s wonder. “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage,” the Bible points out in Psalm 84:5.


What type of pilgrimage can you plan to take soon? The possibilities are diverse. You may choose to visit a holy site such as Mont St. Michel, or walk a pilgrimage trail like the Camino de Santiago with others who walking to intentionally to seek God. These sacred destinations have been revered for centuries as places where pilgrims can experience a profound sense of awe. The energy from so many people praying together at these locations is sometimes possible to feel tangibly when you’re there. You can also choose to travel to a natural setting you find inspiring to dedicate time to seek God there. You may take a family heritage trip to visit a location that played an important part in your family’s history and connect with your Heavenly Father there. Or, you may travel internationally to seek God in a different culture and learn more about God’s work worldwide. God may lead you to take another type of pilgrimage, as well.


No matter where you travel on pilgrimage, you can find valuable opportunities to encounter God’s wonder simply by taking a break from your regular routine and intentionally seeking to learn more about God. The act of pilgrimage is not just about reaching a destination, but about the journey itself. It’s in the process of opening your heart and mind to learn and discover that you can encounter God’s wonder. So, you can find God’s presence with you every step of the way.


As we approach the summer months, now is an ideal time to consider planning a pilgrimage somewhere. I’m planning a pilgrimage to Ireland, where I’ll participate in a prayer retreat and also visit places where some of my ancestors lived. By stepping outside of our routines and opening ourselves up more to God’s presence on a trip, we can enjoy a sacred and adventurous quest that leads to wonder!





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