Introduction – Persons of different temperaments vary considerably in the way they respond to God’s call to holiness and wholeness. Advice and guidance that is appropriate to one personality type may be wholly ineffective for a person of different temperament. Myers-Briggs topology test helps to understand that people have different preferences and different styles. This helps in identifying the different spiritual needs required by the different types of people (Keating, 1987, p. 10). In this paper, I would be combining the results of my Myers-Briggs topology test with the different ways how I can be effective with prayers. The paper will also include how my type of personality deals with four different prayers i.e. as prayers of Ignatius, Thomistic prayer, Augustinian prayer and Franciscan prayer.
Myers-Briggs and Prayers – The Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory, MBTI, suggested that my personality preference to be ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, judging). In detail I am, slightly expressed extraverted; moderately expressed sensing personality; moderately expressed feeling personality; very expressed judging personality. Being an extraverted personality makes me less complex and more forthright about what I want with myself and other people. In addition I also like a certain type of order and method to the way I lead my life. Combining these factors would mean that it would be more effective if I pray with a support group which has a definite set of rules rather than doing it on my own with a Bible or just attending prayer halls at random. Being with a definite communion service would bring out the sense of belonging; oneness and responsibility in me which would be much effective bring calm and serenity in my life. Since my type of personality represents the maximum number of Christians in America, finding a likeminded communion service is the perfect way to be close to God.
Prayers of Ignatius – Ignation prayer follows the structure preparation (where the topic of meditation is chosen), Body (dividing prayers into points and reflecting on them), and conclusion (pray to our Father) (Keating, 1987, p. 35). This type of prayer has a detailed structure and order and is mainly meant for SJ type of personality – which is mine. The prayer follows a logical progression which is for me, being a judging individual, very productive. However, being a sensing individual, I have to remember that the entire while I am following a detailed procedure of mediation, the process itself is just in the mind. I think at this point being in a support group would be helpful to curb my impatience. Since I am feeling by nature, setting the scene of meditation in my mind and reflecting on the scene is an almost ideal scenario to achieve spiritual oneness with God. The Ignatius payer, because of its structure, calls on memory and imagination, encourages feeling more than understanding, and also requires considerable discipline – in short this is the exact type of prayer I would require based on my personality.
Thomistic Prayer – Thomistic prayer is one of the most rational of all the different types of prayers. Here too the conclusion is brought about in an orderly manner however, the process is syllogistic and rationalized (Michael, Norrisey, 1991, p. 42). The people following such a prayer are guided more my a thirst for truth and seeking answers that seem rational than letting their imagination come up with a solution. Such types of prayers are suited for people with a scientific bent in their personality. This type of prayer would suit me only in its orderly manner; however it would not be helpful as I am not someone who is aggressive by nature and am not very much interested in finding cut and dried answers to problems. My sensing and judgmental nature is a definite hindrance to my achieving spiritual peace by performing this prayer.
Augustinian prayer – Augustinian prayer consists of studying the scripture and transposing the same in the present situation (Michael, Norrisey, 1991, p. 41). The best part of the prayers for my personality type is the understanding of the present situation and feeling the essence of what is being done. The prayer involves studying scripture and can be done whenever a person feels comfortable doing so, which is a definite hindrance since I would like it better if the topic is collectively being chosen by my service group. The lack of a definite structure is also a problem since I would like the entire prayer to be ritualistic before it holds any major significance. The use of imagination to freely interpret the scripture and find answers to present problems using the same is also not very comforting, because I would probably be always worried as to whether the interpretation is correct, in absence of any tangible evidence.
Franciscan prayer – The best part of this prayer is that the person who introduced its spirituality i.e. St Francis is judged by many as of ESFP type, which is very close to my personality type (Michael, Norrisey, 1991, p. 40). The gestures and rituals are important here, which is a definite requirement when I seek spiritual guidance. While the prayer is not very formal and is more impulsive than periodic, the center of life is clearly defined as God and Bible, which give an exact reference frame for viewing and interpreting things. My judgmental personality instead of a perceptive one might prove a hindrance since I am not easily adjustable to situations, being of an extremely judging kind. My modestly expressed sensing and feeling personality might also prove to be a hindrance in the prayer, since I is almost entirely spirit-filled.
Keating CJ, (1987), “Who We Are Is How We Pray: Matching Personality and
Spirituality”, Published: Twenty-Third Publications, Connecticut
Michael CP, Norrisey MC, (1991), “Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms
for Different Personality Types”, Published: OPEN DOOR INC