Sacred Listening

Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola

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Ignatius Loyola's time-honored Spiritual Exercises adapted for Protestants today 

For five centuries, Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises have been leading Christians to deeper faith. Now, James Wakefield brings the richness of this enduring text to contemporary Protestants.

Sacred Listening adapts Ignatius's original month-long spiritual retreat into a guide that allows you to weave prayer and contemplation of Scripture into your day-to-day schedule. As you pray, write in a journal, study Scripture, and share your experiences with a partner, you will encounter

Along every step of this journey, you will discover Christ in new ways and be transformed by the power of a time-honored tradition that continues to speak to us today.


"Many people own a Bible. A lot of people read the Bible. But the task of every Bible reader is to become a Bible listener so that we can then start living the text. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises is one of the most influential guidebooks for directing us in listening. Sacred Listening skillfully guides us through these exercises-hopefully making listeners of us all."--Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message; professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

"I was struck by the strong, practical, experiential approach; by the way Wakefield catches the essential spirit of the Exercises and yet adapt them to today. It is 450 years since Ignatius completed the Exercises, and I am sure he is delighted by the way Sacred Listening brings them alive today."--Thomas Green, S.J., author, Weeds Among the Wheat (commenting on an earlier draft)

"Jim Wakefield has done a great service by making the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola accessible to all Christians who are drawn to deepening relationship with Christ. Sacred Listening offers life-changing possibilities because of its deep foundations in Scripture, prayer, and authentic engagement with similar intentional, seeking Christians. "--Jeannette A. Bakke, author, Holy Invitations

"I and many others have found Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises to be the most powerful tool for helping us grow in our walk with God. Wakefield masterfully captures the heart of this life-transforming method and breaks it down in a way contemporary people can understand and put into practice. In fact, I believe this is the clearest and most practical application of Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises I've ever read. However, readers should be forewarned. In keeping with the spirit of Ignatius' exercises, this book will challenge them like few books they are likely to read. It's not for the causal reader or curiosity seeker. But for those who are hungry and ready for a life-changing encounter with the living God, I seriously doubt there is a more practical and more profound resource than this book."--Gregory A. Boyd, author, Letters from a Skeptic and Seeing Is Believing

"As a Jesuit for 62 years, I have been formed by the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, our principal founder. During 50 years of priesthood I have been privileged to direct them hundreds of times on every continent, often the entire Exercises of 30 days, and more often shorter adaptations. I rejoice, then, at the long-awaited publication of Sacred Listening. Not only does Wakefield interpret this short spiritual classic excellently, he admirably adapts them for devout Protestants who cherish the essentials of their great heritage. Only one who understands and loves the deep spiritual dimensions of this heritage could have written this book. It will be for its readers, I hope, a classic manual for spiritual growth in genuine mystical prayer. May its readership continue to grow."--Armand M. Nigro, S.J., professor emeritus, Gonzaga University

"James Wakefield has provided us with a remarkably helpful introduction to praying with the Spiritual Exercises, readable and eminently helpful, insightful and practical. Also notable: he builds on the best scholarship on the Exercises and makes it accessible to Christians of all traditions."--Gordon T. Smith, president, reSource Leadership International

The Author

  1. James L. Wakefield

    James L. Wakefield

    James L. Wakefield (M.Div., Denver Seminary; M.Th., Bethel Seminary; Ph.D., Marquette University) is associate professor of biblical and spiritual theology at Salt Lake Theological Seminary in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is associate pastor at Good Shepherd...

    Continue reading about James L. Wakefield


"The last ten years have seen a substantial revival of popular interest in some rather antiquated methods of spiritual discipline, including the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Lutheran pastor Wakefield has discovered in this Counter-Reformation Catholic's work 'a creative freedom to serve God that is deeply grounded in Scripture.' Less a reinvention of the Exercises than an eminently practical, hands-on, day-by-day guide to their application, Sacred Listening should prove very useful to individuals and church groups attempting to understand and implement Ignatius's disciplines. For most collections."--Library Journal