Good Books Related to Spiritual Direction

Good Books Related to Spiritual Direction November 25, 2014


Mind-body-spirit books
Photo by Teresa Blythe

If so inclined, you could spend years of your life reading books written about spirituality, discernment, prayer, religious and spiritual traditions and spiritual direction. Here’s a suggested reading list which contains a list of books and authors we recommend at the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction. You could consider these books a starting point for learning more about the subjects near and dear to the heart of the practice of spiritual direction.

The books are grouped according to general subject. Feel free to share this bibliography with friends and colleagues. Leave a comment below with the title and author of your favorite spirituality book and I’ll update the list from time to time.



The Practice of Spiritual Direction 

 The Practice of Spiritual Direction.  William Barry and William J. Connelly.

Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction. Margaret Guenther.

Women at the Well: Feminist Perspective on Spiritual Direction. Kathleen Fischer.

Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion. Tilden Edwards.

Sacred is the Call:  Formation and Transformation in Spiritual Direction Programs. Suzanne Buckley, ed.

Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings. Janet K. Ruffing

The Art of Christian Listening. Thomas N. Hart

The Skilled Pastor, Charles Taylor.

Intimacy with God. Thomas Keating.

Inviting the Mystic, Supporting the Prophet: An Introduction to Spiritual Direction. Katherine Marie Dyckman and L. Patrick Carroll

Witnessing to the Fire: Spiritual Direction and the Development of Directors. Madeline Birmingham and William J. Connolly

Tending the Holy: Spiritual Direction Across Traditions. Edited by Norvene Vest.

Inner Way: Toward a Rebirth of Christian Spiritual Direction. Joseph Allen

Spiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction. Tilden Edwards.

The Art of Spiritual Guidance: A Contemporary Approach to Growing in the Spirit. Carolyn Gratton

Companions on the Inner Way: The Art of Spiritual Guidance. Morton Kelsey.

Soul Friend: The Practice of Christian Spirituality. Kenneth Leech.

Care of Mind Care of Spirit: Psychiatric Dimensions of Spiritual Direction. Gerald May.

Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life. Marjorie Thompson.

Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction. Martin Thornton.

Faithful Friendship. Dorothy Devers.

Group Spiritual Direction: Community for Discernment. Rosemary Dougherty

Guided By the Spirit: A Jesuit Perspective on Spiritual Direction, Frank Houdek.

Jewish Spiritual Guidance: Finding Our Way to God. Carol Ochs and Kerry Olitzky.

The Wisdom of Each Other: A Conversation Between Spiritual Friends. Eugene Peterson.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall Roseberg

Spiritual Guidance Across Religions: A Sourcebook for Spiritual Directors and Other Professionals Providing Counsel to People of Differing Faith Traditions by John Mabry, Skylight Paths


Supervision of Spiritual Directors

Looking into the Well: Supervision of Spiritual Directors. Maureen Conroy.

Supervision of Spiritual Directors: Engaging in Holy Mystery. Mary Rose Bumpus and Rebecca Langer, eds.



Listening Hearts, Suzanne Farnham et al.

Grounded in God, Suzanne Farnham, et al.

Discernment: The Art of Choosing Well.  Pierre Wolf.

The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making. Elizabeth Liebert.

What God Wants for Your Life. Frederick Schmidt.

The Discerning Heart: Discovering a Personal God. Maureen Conroy.

Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose. Kirk Byron Jones.

Sacred Compass, Brent Bill.

A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer

Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God’s Will for Your Life. Debra K. Farrington.

Practicing Discernment Together: Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making. Lon Fendall, Jan Wood and Bruce Bishop.

Grounded in God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Group Deliberations. Suzanne Farnham, Stephanie Hull and Taylor McLean.

Weeds Among the Wheat: Where Prayer and Action Meet. Thomas Green.

A Guide to Spiritual Discernment. Reuben Job.

A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience, John Neafsey

Scripture and Discernment: Decision Making in the Church. Luke Timothy Johnson.

Discernment: A Study in Ecstasy and Evil. Morton Kelsey.

Sleeping with Bread, Matthew Linn et al. (This book is an excellent resource about the Ignatian Daily Examen)

Listening to the Music of the Spirit: The Art of Discernment. David Lonsdale.

Seeing God: Twelve Reliable Signs of True Spirituality. Gerard McDermott.

Sharing Wisdom: A Process for Group Decision Making. Mary Benet McKinney.

Discerning God’s Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church. Danny Morris and Charles Olsen.

Faithful Listening: Discernment in Everyday Life. Joan Mueller.

Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders. Charles Olsen.

In Search of Guidance: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. Dallas Willard.



 The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling. William Johnson, ed.

Spiritual Direction and Meditation. Thomas Merton

The Dark Night of the Soul.  Gerald G. May, M.D.


General Spirituality and Religion

The History of God, Karen Armstrong

World Religions. Huston Smith.

Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster.

Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind. Roger Walsh.

Healthy Religion, Howard Clinebell.

Care for the Self, Care for the Soul: A Book of Spiritual Development.  Philip St. Romain.

50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times. Teresa Blythe.

Creating a Life with God. Dan Wolpert.

Leading a Life with God. Dan Wolpert.

Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds, Victor Parachin

Sacred Refuge: Why and How to Make a Retreat.  Thomas Santa

The Mystic Heart: Discovering A Universal Spirituality in the Worlds Religions. Wayne Teasdale

How to be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook. Stuart Matlins & Arthur Magida.

The Ecumenical Gift Exchange. Margaret O’Gara.

Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. Aryeh Kaplan.

Reformed Spirituality. Howard Rice.

The God I Never Knew, Marcus Borg.

Common Journey, Different Paths: Spiritual Direction in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Susan Rakoczy, Ed.

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

The New Earth, Eckhart Tolle


Science and Spirituality

The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene.

Quantum Questions, Ken Wilber

No Boundary, Ken Wilber

Journeys Out of the Body, Robert Monroe

A Big Enough God, Sara Maitland


Women’s Spirituality

Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Sue Monk Kidd

Radical Wisdom, Beverly Lanzetta

In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan

Heart of Flesh, Joan Chittister


Men’s Spirituality

The Elder Within: The Source of Mature Masculinity, Terry Jones

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.

Sexuality and the Sacred, James Nelson and Sandra Longfellow, editors.

From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality, Richard Rohr with Joseph Martos.


For more about spiritual direction as I practice it, check out my website. If you have questions or comments about the content of Spiritual Direction 101, please let me hear from you in the reply section below.

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  • ‘Trustworthy Connections’ is another I found valuable – by Anne Winchell Silver.
    Great to have this knowledgeable resource, Teresa. TY!


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