God made everyone different. People learn differently, act differently, relate and love differently, and even pray differently. The fact is that our temperament and personality permanently influence our prayer life and are occasionally influenced by the circumstances of the moment, including stress, tiredness, and even our daily rhythms. It means, therefore, that there will be distinct differences in how we pray, even on different days. This concept is supported in the book, Prayer and Temperament, Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types, by Chester P. Michael and Marie C. Norrisey, which applies the Myers-Briggs Personality type profile to our spiritual lives. They posit that our personality and temperament results derived from the test greatly influence how we pray and connect with God.
For those who have done the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), you would have received a 4-letter result that pinpoints your personality and temperament. Your results would have followed the list below:
The first letter was either “E” for Extravert or “I” for Introvert.
The second was either “N” for iNtuitive or “S” for Sensate.
The third was either a “T” for Thinking (logic) or an “F” for Feeling (relationships and values).
The fourth was either “P” for Perceiving (a preference to experience) or “J” for Judging (a preference to decide).
Being aware of our personality preferences will help us find modes of prayer that 'work' for us.
Extraverts and Introverts
Extraverts are social beings who enjoy the community and interacting with others, while introverts are more inclined to spend time alone and normally need time to recuperate after social engagements. With that being said, one can understand that extraverts are naturally more drawn to communal prayer meetings where they have the opportunity to relate to others, with their prayers being more social and action-oriented. On the other hand, introverts are more methodical and more inclined to private prayer time, meditation, and personal devotion since they are used to cultivating their inner thoughts and feelings.
Intuitives and Sensates
Intuitives tend to live in the future and embrace possibilities and very active use of the imagination, while Sensates live in the present and are more aware of their surroundings using their senses, as the word denotes. As such, Intuitives may struggle to focus during prayer and may need to practice centering techniques to bring them back to the moment, whether it is using a single or a scripture verse. Sensates tend to be more grounded and can just enjoy the presence of God through the senses without even uttering a word.
Thinking and Feeling Types
The Thinking type uses logic, facts, and truth in judging situations with an inclination always to determine if something is right or just. On the other hand, the Feeling type uses concern for relationships and personal values over logic and facts when deciding. As such, if you are the Thinking type, you may be more concerned about the ‘correctness’ of your prayers and whether they are following the right order. However, the Feeling type will pray based on their relationship with God, with their prayers sounding more emotional and friendly than the Thinking type.
Perceiving and Judging Types
The Perceiving type is more inclined to flexibility and spontaneity, while the Judging type prefers structure and order. When translated in a prayer setting, the Judging type needs advanced planning and tends to pray in a structured format. On the other hand, Perceivers will pray more spontaneously even without adequate notice and are not stickers for structure and order when praying.
While there are different prayer personality types, mutual acceptance between individual Christians will show that variety is a treasure that enriches the worship experience. All will be able to benefit from the unique prayers that each prayer personality type brings to the table. And if you want to keep up your prayer habit download Amen App and growth your faith with us.