A. Prayer and Personality
B. Prayers of the 16 Types (humorous)
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In prayer, you approach God as the unique individual that you are. Your character formation comes into play, here, as do your images of God and overall spiritual development. Given those considerations, your psychological type might seem to play a small role; in fact, however, it is a very significant aspect of your prayer and spirituality.
Resource A covers all the bases in summarial fashion, so I refer you to its outline. Point #3 indicates a few characteristics for each of the 8 primary types; see how well this fits for you. A little farther down the page, points 4 and 5 take a different approach, correlating types with broad schools of prayer. SJ types, for example, seem naturally drawn to Ignatian prayer, and NF types to Augustinian. Point #10 has yet another angle, correlating each of the four functions with different approaches to prayer and spirituality. All of these indicate something of how one's psychological type influences one's general prayer style.
Obviously, one's most natural inclination will be to pray using the primary and auxiliary functions. An interesting and integrative exercise is to also pray using the third and fourth functions. Recall that these are imbedded more deeply in our nature, the fourth function ever-residing somewhat in the unconscious. Learning to approach God through the third and fourth functions can therefore provide a totally different and energizing prayer.
How would one do this?
Hopefully, by now you have identified what your third and fourth functions are. The next step would be to find out how people with those as their primary functions pray. Resource A can give you a clue -- maybe even enough for you to give it a try. Interviewing someone whose primary function is the same as your third or fourth function is another excellent way to so this.
An example from my own life might be helpful, here. As an INTJ, it take quite readily to what is described in 3D of resource A. Thomistic Prayer (5D) also fits, at times. With Introverted Feeling as my third function, I find some of the suggestions from 3H to be helpful; journaling, in particular, has been usefulto help me get in touch with how my feeling function is sensitive to relationships and harmony. This is not easy for me, as IN and ET are so strongly developed and seem to want to run the show. Same goes for ES, my fourth function. 3A has a bit to say about that one, and I do resonate. Bringing the body into prayer through yoga stretches, or even just prayerfully expressing gratitude for sensations when sitting outside is a powerful prayer experience. As an energy-stingy IN who is also an Enneagram 5, challenging myself to service is good for me as well.
Let's hear from you, now.
Reflection / Discussion
1. What questions/comments do you have from this session?
2. What manner of prayer feeds you? How is this related to your psychological type?
3. What experiences do you have in praying from your third and fourth functions? How does this color your sense of God's presence?
There is a rhythm to my daily prayer that I like to follow: read the scripture passages of the day as well as one or two other resources that offer a reflection for those readings. I am also very attuned to the cycle of the liturgical year...the seasons, the saints, the feast days, etc. I would say these very much jive with my Introverted Sensing side.
I believe a challenge for me as far as prayer style is the practice of contemplation. Trying to sit in silence, being open to the presence of God, is very difficult for me to do. It is very hard for me to quiet my racing mind and sit in silence. Not "doing something" is a challenge for me.
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