What is Spiritual Direction?
“It’s a practice that began in the early years of Christianity (300AD) when people followed the
desert mothers and fathers out to the wilderness to ask them how to know God. Over the years,
Spiritual Direction has appeared in many faith traditions. It was kept alive in the Christian faith
mainly through the Roman Catholic Church, but today the Protestant church is rediscovering it” (1)
“You are a Spiritual Director.
I sit in my chair,
You in yours.
I have come to see you
With a longing
That mystifies me.
You draw my attention
To the third chair,
In the room:
You invite me to see
With the eyes of my heart
Of my longing:
The Eternal, Invisible, Loving, Guiding,
In the third chair.”(2)
How do I see God in my experiences and/or in the context of my life? Who is God for me and who
am I for God? How is listening to God and being listened to by Him affecting me? How does He
see me, how do I see myself as created in His image? How can I know God?
These are some questions that human beings can ponder at one point or another in their lives. These are some of the themes covered in Spiritual Direction.
The complete essence of Spiritual Direction can not be summed up in a sentence or two. It
is many things to many people. Here are some definitions that different ones have come up with
over the years.
"Spiritual Direction is not about being"; Rather, it is very much about being
encouraged to draw closer to God. (3)
The focus of Spiritual Direction is the relationship itself between God and the person seeking
direction or ‘directee’. The directee is helped not so much to understand his or her relationship with
God better, but to engage in it, to enter into dialogue with God. Spiritual Direction focuses primarily
with a directee’s actual experience in relationship with God, and what happens when they listen to
and respond to a communicating God.
“Helping one become aware of the fingerprints of God in one’s life”. (4)
“Spiritual Direction is a way of companioning people as they seek to look closely, through
the eyes of their hearts, at the guidance and transforming work of God in their lives”. (5)
These are just some of the different ways in which Spiritual Direction has been described. What is
central though in Spiritual Direction is the heart and our experience of God.
The heart, which is the seat of Faith, Hope and Love. The heart is the very place where the
Spirit of God comes to dwell and where He is one with our spirit. And it is from this heart that we
desire to respond to Him, so that our life can be grounded in the reality of this very relationship.
Opening our heart, our lives and sharing our experiences at times can be difficult. Spiritual
Directors, by skill and vocation, help people notice and cultivate ways of knowing and being known
by God. Spiritual Directors help us making space and time to explore our relationship with God in
new ways and this can lead to transformation.
(1) Alice Fryling: Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction (2009)
(2) Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann
(3) Spiritual Director’s International (www)
(4) Hung Pham S.J.
(5) Alice Fryling: Seeking God Together.
If you are interested to find out more about Spiritual Direction or to make an appointment with a
Spiritual Director please contact:
My name is Manuela, I am 55 years old, I am originally from Milano,
Italy. I’ve been living in Thailand for 23 years and I currently live in
I have always been curious, I always wanted to know about stuff, people
and life in general, at the same time I wanted to be known.
I reached out to God (or God reached out to me?) in need. For a while
Jesus seamed to be real and alive, walking with me. I still had
questions, struggles, doubts and, in away, I knew that there had to be
more about God. It’s this quest and this wondering that lead me, little by
little, to Spiritual Direction.
When I started looking for training in spiritual direction, the notion of it
was not much known in the main stream Christianity. Now, fifteen years
later, with under my belt a two year course that prepared me in the
“Ministry of Spiritual Direction” and five years of practice, the word
Spiritual Direction is used and found almost everywhere I turn.
Personally, I see Spiritual Direction as a safe place where we can be
open and real about our own struggles, doubts, and insecurities,
a place to affirm our lives as journeys given graciously by God and in
which He is present all along even when we don’t realise it. A place to
discover that our lives are not problems to be solved but journeys to be
What I love about offering spiritual direction to people is the opportunity
to facilitate, through the one-on-one dynamics, self-discovery and
integration of faith, healing, and personal transformation.
I’ve been receiving spiritual direction from Manuela for about
2.5 years. When we started, I had just been through a
difficult grief and felt frozen emotionally and spiritually. I tried
counseling and that helped to a degree but the counselor
was unable to help me connect to the presence of God in
my situation. I knew God was with me, but I was having a
hard time knowing where he was or hearing him talk to me
about this grief. For the first time since my DTS, and during
the most difficult time of my life, I felt alone. In our fist
session, God showed up for me and gave me what I needed
to get unstuck. Encountering God’s presence that day gave
me what I’ve needed to continue to walk through the
experience. Since then, Manuela has walked through many
things with me. Not everything has been as quick or
dramatic as our first time together, but I feel my ability to
know God’s presence in the everyday moments of my life
has grown exponentially.
Note: Online donations are NOT tax deductible.
If you wish to support our ministry through tax deductible donations, please send checks payable to "YWAM Montana" to:
"YWAM Montana, 501 Blacktail Rd., Lakeside, MT 59922, U.S.A.".
Please don't write anything else on the check and include a separate note indicating that your donation is for " ".