Center for Spiritual Renewal

Spiritual Direction

  • How do I grow closer to God?

  • Is this God’s voice or is it just my own?  How can I tell what God is wanting to communicate to me?

  • What is God’s will for this decision?  How can I know?

  • What is happening in my spiritual life?  Is this a normal experience?  Will things ever change?

  • Why is it so hard for me to pray?  Why does reading the Bible feel so dry and boring?

  • Who can I share my doubts or questions with?

  • Who can I celebrate this moment or experience with?

  • Is there someone I can share my concerns with who won’t just give me advice or talk about their problems?

If you have ever asked any of these questions, then you have asked the kinds of questions that are intended to be addressed in spiritual direction.  These are common concerns to the Christian life, and so for as long as they have been concerns for believers, the body of Christ has sought to help one another address them in light of the wisdom of God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  There are many ways that they can be and have been addressed, from Bible study to pastoral counseling to devotional literature from the great souls of the church.  Over the centuries, the classical Christian practice of spiritual direction has emerged as one way of addressing these questions and concerns. 

Essentially, spiritual direction is a ministry in which one believer strives to exemplify the love of Christ by carefully listening to that which another believer feels led to share.  Led by the conviction that the Word of God is normative and that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus have the mind of Christ, the spiritual director aims to help the one seeking spiritual direction discern the voice and movement of God in his or her life. 

Our spiritual directors are trained in compassionate listening skills, an evangelical spiritual theology based on the Word of God, the history and traditions of Christian spirituality, and some of the helpful theories of psychology and psychopathology as an aid to discernment and occasionally making referrals to other methodologies of soul care, such as psychotherapy or pastoral counseling.

If you have further questions or concerns about spiritual direction, we encourage you to explore our academic resources, FAQs, and testimonies.  We are also always glad to field your questions or concerns via phone, e-mail or in person.

Finally, here is a standard definition of spiritual direction taken from a classic contemporary text from the literature on spiritual direction.  It is found on all of our spiritual direction applications:

“We define Christian spiritual direction, then, as the help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of  the relationship.  The focus of this type of spiritual direction is on experience, not ideas, and specifically on religious experience, i.e., any experience of the mysterious Other whom we call God.  Moreover, this experience is viewed, not as an isolated event, but as an expression of the ongoing personal relationship God has established with each one of us.  Spiritual direction has always aimed ultimately at fostering union with God and has, therefore, had to do with the individual’s relationship with God…..Not that the director has little of no interest in the rest of a person’s life, he or she is interested in the whole person, but the focus of interest is the prayer experience of the directee. (8-9, emphasis added)” (Taken from: Barry, William A, and William J Connolly. The Practice of Spiritual Direction. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982.)

 

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
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