Should You Have A Spiritual Director?

Written by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

I have been meeting with a spiritual director for nearly two years. Inevitably, when I return home from my monthly meeting, my husband asks me if I have found my spirit yet. He says that since I am going for "spiritual direction," obviously my spirit must be lost. It is a poor joke on his part, but it serves to illustrate some ofrepparttar misunderstanding that surrounds spiritual direction. I admit, even I wasn't quite sure what I was walking into when I attended my first session, and that was after doing extensive research and attending an open house atrepparttar 140949 Center for Spiritual Direction in Holyoke, MA!

What exactly is spiritual direction? Spiritual direction has existed as long as there have been people who have wanted to explore and deepen their relationship with God and have soughtrepparttar 140950 help of others more experienced inrepparttar 140951 spiritual journey to guide them. Inrepparttar 140952 earliest days, such a guide might have been a shaman or medicine man (or woman). The tradition was continued in bothrepparttar 140953 Jewish and Christian faiths. For many centuries inrepparttar 140954 Christian tradition, however, formal spiritual direction was offered only to clergy and vowed religious. Laity could receive some direction through their confessor inrepparttar 140955 Sacrament of Reconciliation. Forrepparttar 140956 most part, however,repparttar 140957 opportunity for a lay man or woman to meet with a trained spiritual director expressly forrepparttar 140958 purpose of exploring his or her spiritual life is a fairly recent development.

Spiritual direction presupposes that God is at work inrepparttar 140959 life ofrepparttar 140960 person coming for direction (the directee) and that God has been at work sincerepparttar 140961 moment of that person's birth. The role ofrepparttar 140962 director is to helprepparttar 140963 directee see where God is in his or her life at this moment in time. "Direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obeyrepparttar 140964 real Director,repparttar 140965 Holy Spirit, hidden inrepparttar 140966 depths of our soul." (1)

Margaret Guenther, a married Episcopal priest, comparesrepparttar 140967 role of a spiritual director to that of a midwife. "The midwife is present to another in a time of vulnerability, working in areas that are deep and intimate. It is a relationship of trust and mutual respect." (2) Ultimately,repparttar 140968 directee doesrepparttar 140969 hard labor, butrepparttar 140970 director is there with her, to guide, to wait with, to celebrate whenrepparttar 140971 way becomes clear. The directee must be willing to open herself, to share any relevant details of her life. Nothing should be considered "offrepparttar 140972 table" for discussion. The director, in turn, holds these life stories in complete confidentiality, asks relevant questions, and seeks to helprepparttar 140973 directee find God revealed inrepparttar 140974 experiences of everyday living. The director can also help in nurturingrepparttar 140975 directee's relationship with God through prayer and spiritual reading. Spiritual direction provides a sacred space and a dedicated time for reflection.


Written by Stephen Kingery

PRAYER! This is probably one ofrepparttar two most important aspects of our daily walk as a Christian. The other, of course, is Bible Study. Prayer isrepparttar 140934 one way that we, as Christians, can commune with God on a daily basis. It is as important to our spiritual health as is water and air to our physical well-being. It is absolutely necessary thatrepparttar 140935 Christian spend time in earnest prayer.

Remember, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16)

To many Christians prayer is not a meaningful act. All too often people pray but do not realizerepparttar 140936 full blessings that are available through this means of seeking God's will. They may be praying in a shallow meaningless way, or, they just do not really believe inrepparttar 140937 power of prayer. God does hear and answer prayers of Christians. I sometimes feel that we are guilty of asking for God's will in our lives, but what we really want is our will in God's life.

There is power in prayer! You, as a Christian, haverepparttar 140938 authority to enter God's throne room and ask for His blessing in your life. You may enter withrepparttar 140939 boldness of faith and knowledge that God hears and answers prayers. "Let us therefore come boldly torepparttar 140940 throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) Why has God given us this authority? Because we Christians have been adopted intorepparttar 140941 royal family of God, "... that we may receiverepparttar 140942 adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:5b) However, "come boldly torepparttar 140943 throne" does not mean to come torepparttar 140944 throne in a disrespectful manner. It means to come withrepparttar 140945 boldness that is present when we KNOW something to be true. In other words, to come withrepparttar 140946 boldness of faith and knowledge that God will receive us, hear our prayers, and answer them according to His will. Honor, praise, glory, and reverence should always be given to our Heavenly Father.

How should we pray? Prayer should not be offered to God in a negative manner. Matthew 6:5-7 tells us that we should not be likerepparttar 140947 hypocrites and pray to be seen, and use vain repetitions. Often we are called upon to pray in public for a particular purpose. On these occasions, we are to offer a community prayer on behalf ofrepparttar 140948 group assembled. These prayers should not be given to bring glory to our ability to offer those prayers, we should not do it to be seen. We should not do it with pretense asrepparttar 140949 Pharisees did in Matthew 23:14, and Luke 20:47. Also when we pray, either in public or private, we should not do it with unforgiveness in our heart.

The Bible tells us how to pray. We should pray persistently (Luke 18:1-8), in faith believing (Matthew 21:21,22; Mark 11:23; James 1:6,7), expectantly, as from a friend (Luke 11:5- 10), assuredly, as from a father (Luke 11:11-13), fervently (Colossians 4:12), in Christ's name, or by His authority (John 14:13,14), boldly (Hebrews 4:15,16), and with confidence toward God (1 John 3:19-22).

Why do we pray? Jesus setrepparttar 140950 example for us as indicated in Luke 6:12, "Now it came to pass in those days that He (Jesus) went out torepparttar 140951 mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Jesus also taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13). Taking our needs and desires torepparttar 140952 throne of God can do many things for us. It can help us to overcome temptation (Luke 22:40). Prayer can help us to realize those things which we need and desire (James 4:2 & 1 John 5:14,15). We can obtain forgiveness (1 John 1:9,10). We can help others to get well (James 5:16); to be forgiven (1 John 5:16); and to overcome sin (Luke 22:32).

It is interesting to note here that First Samuel 12:23-25) teaches us that we sin when we fail to pray for others. We can obtain wisdom as we see in James 1:5. Wisdom is not knowledge, but ratherrepparttar 140953 application of knowledge. We can gain soul winners (Matthew 9:38). Even when we don't know what is best for ourselves, or we may not even know what is proper to pray for or how to express them, our prayers will be answered (Romans 8:26-28). We should know that God wants us to pray. Know also the, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16b).

We have discussed how and why to pray, but what is it that we should pray for? I have some friends who feel thatrepparttar 140954 words of Jesus in Matthew 21:22 teach us that whatever we want we can have. "And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Does this really mean that if I want one million dollars, and I pray to God for that, and believe with all my heart, being and soul that He will supply it for me, that I will receive it? Ifrepparttar 140955 above statement by Jesus was a universal truth,repparttar 140956 answer would be yes! However, to fully understand this statement by Jesus, we must examine other scripture to determine what God's word says we should pray for.

Here is what God's word says we should pray for: God's rule on earth as in heaven (Luke 11:2); our daily bread or necessities (Luke 11:3); forgiveness (Hebrews 7:25 & 4:16); shelter and rescue from temptation (Matthew 6:13 & Luke 22:40); for others (James 5:16, 1 John 5:16, & Luke 22:32); wisdom (James 1:5); soul harvesters (Matthew 9:38); forrepparttar 140957 church (Ephesians 6:18); for our enemies (Luke 6:28); for government officials (1 Timothy 2:1- 3); for open doors that we may spreadrepparttar 140958 Good News of Jesus Christ to others (Colossians 4:3); and forrepparttar 140959 word of God to have a free course to expandrepparttar 140960 kingdom to all nations (2 Thessalonians 3:1). I can find no place in God's word where we are taught that we should pray for material blessings so we can have our lives more abundant inrepparttar 140961 things ofrepparttar 140962 world. We should pray for those things which will make our lives here on earth more abundant inrepparttar 140963 things ofrepparttar 140964 spirit.

Inrepparttar 140965 scriptures we are also given several examples of when to pray. We should pray for others when they are in need. Jesus prayed for Peter when he (Peter) was tempted, Abraham prayed for Sodom because of its sinfulness, Moses prayed for Miriam when she was sick, Job prayed for those who abused him, and David prayed for his enemies. There are countless other examples of prayers for others inrepparttar 140966 scriptures. God's word has a lot to say about other times when we should pray. We should pray when we are tempted (Luke 22:40); when we are sick (James 5:13-15); when we are persecuted (Acts 16:25); always (Ephesians 6:18); continually (Acts 6:4 & Romans 12:12); without ceasing (Acts 12:5 & 1 Thessalonians 5:17); all night (Luke 6:12); night and day (1 Thessalonians 5:17); steadfastly (Acts 2:42); when fasting (Mark 9:29); and when eating to sanctify what we eat (1 Timothy 4:5).

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