What is Spiritual Direction?
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for
it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Luke 24:28-35, NIV
Christian Spiritual Direction is the practice whereby one person helps another to pay attention to God, and to God's presence, voice, and sanctifying work in his or her life. As in the Luke passage above, it is the shared noticing of Jesus, revealed in Scripture and the daily events of a walk and a meal, attended to in feelings of disappointment and hope, of joy and burning hearts.
Spiritual direction is God-oriented rather than goal-oriented--giving one's attention to God rather than to a particular problem that needs to be fixed or behavior that needs to be modified. It is responsive rather than directive, listening together to the Holy Spirit's presence and ways rather than the director telling the directee what to do. It is about listening with--together noticing senses of God's voice and direction--rather than talking to. It occurs in an atmosphere of loving trust; trusting that God is for us (not against us), in love, and that God's work over time is about transforming us into the image of Christ, through the loving shaping of his Holy Spirit, so that we might live life fully, and to the Father's glory.
Spiritual direction meetings between a director and directee usually occur once a month, for an hour each time.
What goes on in spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction occurs in an atmosphere of prayerful listening. Often beginning and ending in silent prayer, to create an awareness of God's presence with the director and directee, it's common for the director to ask a directee to return to a few moments of silence in the middle of a session, again to clear away the clutter of talk and notice more deeply what the Holy Spirit may be saying.
Spiritual Direction conversations include all the "stuff" of ordinary life--vocation, relationships, circumstances, health, the life of worship and prayer and service, joys and sorrows, boredoms and adventures--and seek to notice God's presence, work, and invitations in the midst of those.
How do I find a spiritual director?
Begin by praying. God, who is stirring this desire in you, is also working to meet that desire!
Then prayerfully make contact with potential directors, by email and/ or by phone. Ask them about their theology of spiritual direction—how do they understand what happens in the direction session? How do they try to pay attention to God's presence? What might regular times with them look like? As you listen to their answers, notice what goes in your own internal reactions. Is there a particular director with whom you feel a desire and freedom to share more deeply? Do you sense this as a relationship where already, in your back-and-forth conversation, there's an awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence and leading?
Once you identify a potential director, set up a time to meet. (Although in-person direction is preferable, some directors do offer direction by phone or skype.) Unless it's clear right away that this isn't what or who you want, you'll meet a further one to two times, before together discerning if this is a direction relationship that the Lord is inviting you into. Then you'll commit to a period of time together, usually a year, before further evaluation.
Clarify with the director where you will meet, how often, and how you will offer financial compensation for his or her ministry. (Some directors request a particular amount, others suggest a scale based on your ability and freedom to give, others are covered already by their ministry organization. Do be prepared to offer something, either to them or to their ministry organization, for this is a ministry for which people have invested time and money in training, and your contribution enables them to give time to it.)
Listing of Spiritual Directors
As a service to those seeking spiritual direction, LTI provides a listing of people who have received a Certificate of Completion of training in LTI's Selah Program and of people who are currently enrolled in the Selah program under faculty supervision. You may contact these individuals directly to discuss their spiritual direction practice and their availability.
For a list of graduates of and interns in LTI's Selah Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction, click here.
Several of our Selah graduates are also members of two wider networks of spiritual directors. Both organizations maintain lists of their members, and you will find additional spiritual directors listed there:
- Selah - Homepage
- Selah Brochure
- Selah Details
- Selah Application
- Selah Faculty
- What is Spiritual Direction
- Find a Spiritual Director
What Others Are Saying..."Selah has changed my life. Thank you for all you have done."
-- Daryl Driscoll
-- Andrea Chan
-- Jim Ennis
-- Deb Bellevue
-- Eugene Peterson