Spiritual friendship: nuts and bolts

Spiritual friendship is a relationship between persons who are choosing to be intentional about their spiritual growth. It is often a very mutual relationship. Generally one individual serves as listener while the other shares their story. After an agreed upon time, the two switch roles and the first listener has the opportunity to share about their spiritual journey.

The focus of one's sharing is the relationship with God. The purpose of such sharing is to assist in developing more inner awareness. The "still small voice of God" can be found in each of us, but it takes discipline. We will learn to trust our experiences with God as we become more aware of the inner workings of the Spirit. Sharing our inner life with another person fosters more growth for each individual.

Helpful hints for sharing
  • Be honest and open.
  • Try to find words for your feelings.
  • The focus of your sharing is God, but remember that God is pervasive in all of life.
  • Resist placing value judgments on your experiences. This is a way of keeping your sharing on a feeling level as opposed to a rational discussion.

Helpful hints for the listener
  • Help the person stay focused on their personal experience.
  • Foster an open and caring attitude that assists the other to trust you. 
  • Refrain from comparing your experience with that of the other.
  • Be cautious in giving advice. Offer your suggestions in a tentative manner. 
  • Ask questions that elicit a response on the feeling level.
  • Learn to trust your own inner hunches about how to respond to the other. 
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Maintain an attitude of prayer, asking God to become more clearly known to the other.

Helpful questions for reflecting on one's experience
  • How has God been active in your life?
  • How do you love and care for yourself?
  • How do you relate with persons you love dearly?
  • How do you experience God - in prayer? In scripture? At other times?
  • Is anything changing within you?
  • Are there specific incidents in your life that you know clearly were from God? 
  • What is your prayer experience like?
  • Are there things you need to confess?