Prayer and Personalities

I had wanted to get myself certified as an MBTI practitioner but someone I know who has been into personality typing for the past 15 years advised me to first do some reading and studying of the subject. So I bought this book by Otto Kroeger, Type Talk and ordered another book, Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers, one of the creators of the MBTI personality typing tool.

Type Talk, The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love and Work
Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen

Gifts Differing, Understanding Personality Type
Isabel Briggs Myers

On the other hand, as I googled on the topic, I realise I must also read up more on Carl Jung. I believe he held on to many beliefs and propositions that would certainly not sit well with my belief and my faith. On top of that, I must say that this personality typing thing would not sit well with some people who see it as a stereotyping more than anything. And I must agree that if it is not handled and used properly, they could well be right. For me, I fell into that trap before but now I am beginning to see it more as a way to understand and work with people better, without even having them succumbed into taking the type test. And I now believe that a person is not set and cast into just one type.

But what I did today, was to find out the linkage between type and preferences in prayer. I found it difficult to pray like some people, who seem to go on and on and on without any trouble. I have soon begun to accept myself for what I am, as far as prayers are concerned, though there are still people who insist on a certain kind of prayer regime.

I found this site today: I looked at my typing, NF, and sent it to Melissa as well, who is an NT. The website recommends us the Augustinian and the Thomistic Prayer modes respectively and they fit like a glove!

If you are interested, take a look and tell me if these disciplines of prayer fit you according to your personality type.

But the website does not cover the E-I and J-P side of the MBTI typing. I know of some people who are strong Es who can pray aloud for a long periods of time during corporate prayer sessions. I find it both distracting and disturbing – distracting as I keep listening on to what they are praying and thus not praying myself and disturbing as I just could not pray as much as I try. During such situations, I’d just take on a contemplative mode and keep silent before God—I still do.

And I am not sure about you, but I also find it disturbing when people, how shall I put it, push and force their prayers on God? I don't think they mean to do that when they pray, but they certainly sound like it to me.



  1. Pearlie, thanks! I believe I have similar difficulties with prayer - especially corporate prayer. This link is very helpful. The times I feel have been the most forthcoming in prayer would be in the Augustinian method. It may be very beneficial to have recognized this!

  2. Hi Missy :)
    Glad you found it helpful. So both of us on to Augustinian method -- wonderful! We'll check on each other! :D

  3. Hi Pearlie,

    It is interesting to explore personality and spirituality. Check out here and here. :)

  4. Thanks Alex. I appreciate your sharing with me especially on the second link. I scored max on Intellectual, with the rest as a clump in the bottom, no need to even mention them! The thing is though I hv people coming to tell me to be aware that I not only get head-knowledge but to experience and serve God. But in reading your article, that is how I experience and serve God and it is not quite fair to accuse me of just having head knowledge because it is not. What are your thoughts?

    On the other hand, I'd readily "accuse" the rest of not having a firmer grip on Scripture. Hmm ... there must be a balance.

  5. Hi Pearlie,

    In the intellectual pathway, you are in good company with Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and me :) We enjoy dealing with intellectual concepts and in the process experience God. What is wrong with that?

    Major in your strength but also try out the other pathways. Balance to me is majoring in your major pathways/ways and trying out the other pathways. Balance is not forcing yourself to make all pathways equal. God has made each of us different. Each of us experience God differently. In our spiritual formation, there is no 'one size fit all' approach.

  6. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and me :)Yay!

    Balance is not forcing yourself to make all pathways equal.Good insight -- I did not think about it that way before but you are right -- in a way to understand others for what they are and find ways to experience the other ways as well, while going on strong with ours.

    Each of us experience God differently.True and I suppose that "warning" (i.e. don't keep it as head knowledge for us) is a warning for all types -- one's strength can be one's weakness. For example, a sensory people who experience God through creation can go too far and if foundation is not set well in Scripture, can go haywire and may end up in animism?? Too farfetched?

  7. I just thought of a book I have called Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa which gets into the differences in personality type and spirituality. I think you would find it very interesting, and your book fast is over right :)

    I'm also an NF and have a hard time w/ corporate prayer. Sometimes I try to chime in and I can do about one sentence. I'll have to look into your links.

  8. Hi Pearlie,

    I think you are right if our spirituality is not grounded in the Scripture. Then any of the pathways may lead us to idolatry.

  9. Julia,
    I will look out for that book but I doubt I will get to see it in the bookshops here :(

    Sometimes I try to chime in and I can do about one sentenceIt is a comfort to know that it is not only I who have that "problem".

    I am not sure the stuff in the link will help us in corporate prayers though.

  10. Prayer cannot be hurried, only tarried. It is OK to have a few words, just as long as you don't me doze off, me thinks. I will try the link and see what type I am.

  11. Melissa,
    I agree, but at times, during prayer meetings, the prayer leader would push for it.


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