Light on the Path

Guiding Symbols for Insight and Discernment

Daniel L. Prechtel

Oct/2016, 208 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819232953



• Easy-to-understand model of spiritual discernment for individuals and groups
• Introduces an array of spiritual practices
• Connects powerful spiritual practices with psychological understanding and social insight
• Study guide included

Dan Prechtel contends that the Holy One wants to—and often does—speak to us in language of powerful symbols from the depths of our individual and collective being. Symbols that emerge from our particular situations and are deeply connected with our spiritual tradition provide light on the path of our spiritual journey to illuminate our situation and give insight into God's desire for us personally and in our common life. The book helps individual readers, small groups, spiritual directors, and counselors pay closer attention to those symbols that emerge from the deep source of wisdom and creativity within and around us to serve as guides.

Offering examples from his personal life as well as from professional experience as a spiritual guide, Prechtel explores a practical model of spiritual discernment and discusses how tools such as contemplative spiritual practices, exploring the wisdom of dream symbols, and participation in sacramental rituals all provide powerful symbols to guide the discernment process. He looks at varying contexts for discernment, from personal situations to global issues. There are questions for personal and group reflection throughout the book, along with additional examples of guided imagery meditations and further discussion on dream work at the end.

Audience: Individual seeking to deepen their spiritual life, Small-group studies; adult, young adult, older youth, Spiritual directors/faith-based counselors (including SDI), Christian educators, and clergy.

Read the first chapter

Daniel L. Prechtel is a spiritual director, educator, church consultant, retreat leader, and priest in the Episcopal Church who draws on more than 30 years of experience in spiritual guidance. His previous book, Where Two or Three are Gathered: Spiritual Direction for Small Groups, has been widely received for its contributions to the field of spirituality and spiritual guidance. He is founder of Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries and teaches at the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL) at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, and at The Chaplaincy Institute. He has a DMin in Anglican Ministries from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

“Dan Prechtel has written a generous and comprehensive companion to those eager to take their spiritual lives deeper through imaginative prayer, meditation, and dreamwork. Combining solid scriptural grounding, multiple examples of reliable approaches, detailed descriptions and directions for specific practices, and disarmingly honest personal stories, he leads the reader toward many doors that open into the nearer presence of the Holy One.”

—Susanna Singer, Associate Professor of Ministry Development,

Church Divinity School of the Pacific


“In Light on the Path, Daniel Prechtel reminds us of the power of words, images, and symbols to influence our personal decisions. He opens the inner world to us, drawing on classic writings, personal revelations, and his decades-long work with individuals and congregations in discernment processes. He invites us to look more deeply at the symbols and images that hold divine guidance for our lives, beckoning us into a future with hope.”

—Dwight H. Judy, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Formation,

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary,

and author of Discerning Life Transitions: Listening Together in Spiritual Direction


“St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote about the imagination as if it were an organ of spiritual perception. Plenty of wise teachers have done the same, but no one has written about it as comprehensively and usefully as Daniel Prechtel. Light on the Path is an essential resource for anyone offering spiritual guidance, and a treasure for those seeking spiritual insight into their own journeys.”

—The Rev. John R. Mabry, PhD

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  • Discernment
  • Spirituality
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Small Group Study

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