Frank McNair

Frank McNair


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What Is Spiritual Direction?

Photo: The Cloister at Iona Abbey
Photo Credit: Martin Guppy


"Spiritual Direction" is much simpler than it sounds. It is simply two people sitting together -- a listener and a seeker -- to attend to the prayer life of the seeker. The dialogue in the room is between the listener and the seeker, but the dialogue is about the seeker's relationship with God.

The listener is not an “expert,” and not a "director" in any directive sense of the word. Rather, the listener is a companion and confidante, a fellow-traveler through a world that can seem -- and sometimes is -- dark and lonely and full of sadness.  

The director helps -- if s/he helps at all -- only through the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And the help is often in the form of reflecting back what he or she hears as the seeker talks about the life of prayer.   

Sometimes -- in our prayer lives as in the balance of our lives -- it is useful to have a third party listen to our story. That is the role of the director -- to listen carefully for recurring themes, for underlying patterns, for the movement of God across the waters of the seeker's life. It is a role some seekers have been generous enough to offer me in their lives. And one I accept with great humility.   

If you think spiritual direction might be helpful to you, click on the link below and jump to the homepage of Spiritual Directors International, or email me directly.



© 2006- 2009 Frank McNair

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