Coming Closer to God - Spiritual Direction
- Who will help me?
- Who will walk with me?
- Who will listen to me and listen with me?
A spiritual guide could help
Many people find a spiritual guide of very great value. Talking one to one with a spiritual guide can give you a clearer idea of what God has been doing in your life and in the world and how he is drawing you to himself. This is sacred companionship, by the grace of God.
What or who is a spiritual guide?
Spiritual guides are mature Christian men and women of all denominations, who have been specially trained and have the experience to listen to you and encourage you. They may be lay or ordained, or belong to a religious order. They are not ‘spiritual giants’, but they are safe to talk to in complete confidence and they do not judge.
A Scriptural Model
The exemplar of spiritual guidance or spiritual direction from the Scriptures is the story of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the Emmaus Road. The two disciples walked along the road together. The ‘direction’ is about where they are walking to. It is Jesus himself who is their guide. He came to where they were on the road and walked with them, listening, encouraging and challenging. It was Christ himself who opened the Scripture for them and made himself known in the breaking of the bread. In spiritual direction one disciple acts as a ‘life servant’ to the other and holds the sacred space so that Christ can come and meet with them both.
What should I expect?
A spiritual guide will not tell you how to pray or what to do. He or she understands that it is God who is the prime mover. A good spiritual guide works with you to discern God’s guidance.
A spiritual guide will:
- Listen attentively to you and to God
- Pray with and for you
- Help you to see more clearly how God is calling you and working in your life
- Help you to celebrate the good things God is doing in your life
- Help you to discern where God may be leading
- Encourage you in your faith journey
- Accept you as you are, whoever you are, without judging
- Treat what you say as utterly confidential
- Help you to grow in prayer
Who is this for?
Spiritual guidance is for anyone, of any denomination, who wants it. There is no one lay or ordained, whose life would not be enriched by it. Perhaps this is for you?
How can I find a spiritual guide?
A spiritual guide can be found through one of the area co-ordinators (see below). He or she will offer to talk with you about spiritual direction in more detail. They are happy to explain anything you are uncertain about. They will help you to find the right guide for you and will give you contact details.
The next step after that is for you to arrange to meet with your prospective guide. The purpose of that meeting is for you both to discern if this might be a fruitful relationship. If you decide to go ahead, the two of you would decide how often you will meet. This may be monthly, or every two or three months. Each meeting is usually for about an hour.
Spiritual guidance is usually free of charge. Some guides to ask for a donation but they will make this clear at the outset.
Some questions to reflect on before making contact with a coordinator.
- You may find it helpful to reflect on your answers to the following questions in thinking about the sort of person you would like for a spiritual guide:
- Would you like your spiritual guide to be a man or a woman or perhaps you do not mind either?
- Would you like your spiritual guide to be lay or ordained or a religious brother or sister or perhaps this is not an issue for you?
- Would you like someone the same sort of age as you? Or someone older? Or younger?
- Would you like someone from the same denomination as yourself or who has a similar faith /church experience to yourself?
- Would you like someone with a particular area of experience in prayer? e.g some people feel they would like to experience more about Ignatian ways of prayer.
- Is there anything about your own gifts and experience which you feel needs to resonate with a spiritual guide? e.g. some musicians pray through music and want a spiritual guide who understands this or perhaps does the same.
- Would you like someone who lives close by or are you happy to travel?
Spiritual Direction Co-ordinators
Chair of Co-ordination Group
Revd Ann Coleman
East London Boroughs & West Essex
Revd Gill Hopkins
Revd Sandy Southee
Revd Hilary Davey
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