Spiritual Direction

A THEOLOGY PROFESSOR WRITES…

The spiritual director helps the one seeking direction to process her (or his) relationship with God, uncovers resistances to growth, lays bare hidden pockets of sin, guides the practice of spiritual disciplines, facilitates listening to God and encourages the life of prayer. In short, he or she clears the interior ground of the soul and replants in it the living Word of God in order to nurture and release the life of Christ from within. The spiritual director will listen, question, rephrase, suggest, offer responses, and pray with and for the one seeking direction, while resisting the temptation to be merely an advice giver or problem solver.    --Dr. Bruce Demarest, author of Soul Guide.

The Christian life cannot be lived alone, in isolation. The Christian life is lived in a number of relationships with people: in local churches, Bible studies, small groups, and in discipleship relationships. But sometimes a maturing Christian may experience a time of spiritual dryness, and in addition to prayer, Scripture reading, and practice of other spiritual disciplines that are crucial to living through desert experiences, he or she may also need the observations and encouragement of another mature believer who offers fresh perspectives. 

 The Apostle Paul was an example of this kind of mature guiding and mentoring believer. He established close relationships with individuals and groups of Christ-followers in which he offered timely comfort, godly encouragement, occasional rebuke, and continual reminders of the grace of God and the implications of living out the Gospel and growing in Christ. Paul distinguished himself from other kinds of guides in their life by comparing himself to an earthly father: "I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me." (1 Corinthians 4:14-16) After the first century, early Christians continued the practice of seeking out spiritual "parents" to advice, correct and encourage them to grow in their faith. They sought out these human "guides" to help them grow in their relationship with God within the life and worship of a larger community of believers. An example of this in later church history are the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Puritans of England and New England, who prized "personal work" and identified mature spiritual guides. 
 
Today, every Christ-follower may be helped by spending time with another believer who has wisdom, discernment, and preparation for providing guidance. These guides can be a crucial part of the "re-parenting" process, providing emotional as well as spiritual health, that many contemporary Christ-followers particularly need, given the widespread propensity to live the Christian life under one's own power rather than yielding to the Holy Spirit. At Lothlorien we believe preparing more spiritual parents for the church is a significant part of our call. And so, we offer several kinds of spiritual direction opportunities for individuals and groups. We also provide preparation for others to become spiritual directors themselves. 

What is spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction is a spiritual discipline in which space is created for a meeting between myself and God in the presence of another spiritually- and emotionally-mature person who is available to assist me in discovering and moving toward the fulness of life God has called me to.
 
In times of spiritual direction I will...
 
--learn to tell my life's stories and understand them in the context of the God's greater Story.
--discern the Holy Spirit's ongoing working in my life: becoming a better observer and have a more healthy curiosity.
--remember God's presence in my life and grow in practicing his presence.
--grow in understanding and living out the implications of the Gospel in my life.
 
Someone has said that spiritual direction is a time set apart for paying attention and praying attention.
 
Is spiritual direction for me?
In the Kansas City or Manhattan, Kansas area, call 913.952.0756, or email liam@emmahouse.org, or click on the following link: KC spiritual direction info.
 
We can arrange a 30-minute session free of charge if you are not sure if spiritual direction is for you. During this session we can determine if this is the time for spiritual direction, or if another avenue would better serve you. We can identify the spiritual director who may be best for you and arrange a regular meeting schedule. We will also explain our particular approach to spiritual direction (there are many!), discuss fees, ethical considerations, and confidentiality. And please, by all means browse the website. It may give you a better feel for Emmanuel House's beliefs and values, and may answer some of your questions (or raise more!).