What Is Spiritual Direction?

Updated: Jun 24, 2018

Spiritual direction has a long history in Christian tradition. The letters of the desert fathers and the letters of Brother Lawerence were a form of spiritual direction. As was the role of anam cara, or “soul friend,” in Celtic Christianity. Peter Ball defines spiritual direction as “a relationship within which one Christian accompanies another along the journey of faith towards maturity as a follower of Jesus Christ.”

The basics of spiritual direction can be found here - this site is intentionally generic to incorporate everything from mainline Protestant to Roman Catholic. As a rule, spiritual direction is not denominational or doctrinal. There is both good and bad in this. 


Spiritual direction has a long history in Christian tradition. The letters of the desert fathers and the letters of Brother Lawerence were a form of spiritual direction.


The way that I approach this ambiguity is with confidence that the Almighty God can speak to us in any variety of ways either through, around, or in spite of our spiritual practices. However, if I am going to recommend a practice, it will be thoroughly grounded in Scripture and historic Christian practice (with limited exception to include some Jewish spirituality). 


Ways You Might Describe Spiritual Direction


Discerning together what it means to live and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Listening together for the song of God (Zephaniah 3:17)

Finding God in the silence (1 Kings 19:13)

Hearing the call of God (1 Samuel 3:8-9)

Loving God with heart and soul and not just mind and strength (Mark 12:30)

Exploring the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34)


Good Basic Books on Spiritual Practices:

From an evangelical perspective - Radical by David Platt

From a reformed/mainline perspective - Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton

From a more Quaker background (but a classic) - Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

My personal favorite is The Way by Reginald Somerset Ward (unfortunately out of print)


I also like The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin as a nice introduction to Ignatian spirituality


I personally also find great value in the discipline of praying the Daily Office  as a means of listening to God in prayer and Scripture.


Let me know if you would like to meet and give it a try. 


Grace and Peace,

Rob+

  • Black Facebook Icon