Praying with the Grain: How Your Personality Affects the Way You Pray - eBook
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Vendor: Monarch Books
Publication Date: 2012
Why do so many struggle to pray? Dr Pablo Martinez, a medical doctor and psychotherapist, suggests that our basic personality type strongly affects how we pray, and what we pray about. Extroverts may struggle to develop a regular prayer life; introverts will be more likely to set time apart. Thinking types find prayer more satisfactory if accompanied by pen and paper; feeling types may long for intimacy with God; intuitive types tend to be innovators and visionaries, and may have a more mystical bent; sensation types often have a particular capacity for spontaneous prayer; and so on. The purpose of this book is to help us understand, and work with, our own spiritual path.
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LauraDenverAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Not Your Traditional Book on PrayerJune 9, 2012LauraDenverAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Praying with the Grain
How does your personality type affect the way you pray? That's the subtitle of my latest read: Praying with the Grain by Dr. Pablo Martinez. And of course I loved that John Stott wrote the forward - added credibility.
I thought I was in for another traditional book on prayer - one of many in a cluster of books in my library. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is an intriging, unusual, thoughtful, and altogether different book on prayer than I suspect you may ever read.
The opening section is all about personality types and from a doctor's perspective how those unique characteristics and preferences affect our approach to prayer...and the potential problems that may ensue. Really interesting stuff. Particularly good presentation on introverts and extroverts.
But then Dr. Martinez takes us on a most interesting journey discussing prayer and psychology, side by side and intertwined. There is so much scripture and terrific quotes by people from Teresa of Avila to Paul Tournier to Larry Crabb to Richard Foster - I was amazed at the variety and breadth of references. All very spot on in my opinion. I was underlining on nearly every page. New ways of approaching and discussing a topic that has probably been written about more than any other.
I don't often do this but the table of contents is worth sharing here:
Part 1: The Psychology of Prayer
Different prayers for different people (Prayer in relation to temperament)
Overcoming difficulties (Emotional problems and prayer)
The therapeutic value of prayer (Prayer - a love relationship)
Questions & answers
Part 2: The Apologetics of Prayer
Prayer: psychological illusion? (A psychiatrist's viewpoint)
Are all prayers alike? (Christian prayer and Eastern meditation)
I want to share some excerpts but first let me say, I really enjoyed this book and believe I'll be refering back to it in the future (I can't say that about every book on prayer I read). At times the psychological talk got tedious but there is great meat to chew on.
Here's an example, however, of how practical and prescriptive the book is as well:
In responding to the issue of how to get started in prayer and the challenge that presents for some: "Try writing down your prayers. One practical exercise I often recommend is to write down two good things that happened today: perhaps some good news, a conversation of any form of blessing for which you feel happy and grateful. Then do the same with two reasons for concern or anxiety. Now you are ready for a short prayer." (p.58)
He goes on to say to those who feel hypocritical in prayer because they aren't "feeling it:" "My recommendation, then, is basically the same one that I recommend for those who have problems with starting to prayer: begin praying, regardless of what you feel. It is better to begin praying, though you don't feel like it, than not to pray at all. Prayer is primarily an expression not of my inner well-being, but of my love towards God. I do not pray when I feel well; I pray because I love the Lord." (p.66)
I commend Dr. Martinez for his presentation on the differences between Christian prayer and Eastern meditation. It is logical and thoughtful, and in my opinion quite helpful. Here is one excerpt that I found particularly good:
"Eastern meditation is fundamentally passive; one gives oneself completely, simply letting go. The person seeks to disconnect, to emply himself or herself. As Gaius Davies, a psychiatrist, says, it "puts the mind, as it were in neutral gear." Here, the differences are also absolute. Christian prayer is not a technique, nor is it passive. It is an active process by which the person is fully occupied with God's truth. It does not seek to empty the mind but to fill it. It does not seek to lose the attention but to concentrate it. It does not seek relaxation. It does not consist of letting ideas float without a fixed direction, but of setting them on concrete realities: the person of God, his works, his promises, his commandments. This establishes the framework within which meditation is developed. It is not an excursion without borders, or an aimless journey in which a map and compass are lacking." (p.162)
I had coffee with a friend yesterday and she asked what I was reading...after a brief discussion (not unlike what I've shared with you here) she immediately got on her Kindle app and bought the book to read this weekend. I think she'll like it or at lease be challenged by it.
(Note: Thank you Kregel Publications for providing this book to me for review purposes)
Christy Lockstein5 Stars Out Of 5Making your prayer life fit your personalityMay 25, 2012Christy LocksteinQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Praying with the Grain by Pablo Martinez is a book to revolutionize your prayer life by helping you analyze your personal style and then encouraging you to pray, without guilt or procrastination. Martinez writes like a professorial uncle, very intelligent yet sympathetic and without judgment. The book opens with a comparison of personalities: introvert vs extrovert and then expands into four categories: thinking/feeling and sensation/intuitive. He breaks down how each psychological function impacts our prayer life, and I was stunned at how accurate his insights were. His breakdown of how a thinking person prays made me wonder if he had been secretly watching me pray, he had every aspect correct, down to the tiniest detail. Once Martinez is done helping readers figure out what category they fall into, he gets into the nitty-gritty of prayer: difficulties in prayer, types of prayer, and the importance of prayer. I was fascinated by Martinez' insights and inspired to change the way I've been praying to better fit my personality (and to please God). The book is truly intelligent and an enjoyable read, and has truly changed my life.
onedesertroseSt. Paul, MNAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Your personality affects your regular prayer lifeMay 25, 2012onedesertroseSt. Paul, MNAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Dr. Pablo Martinez, a medical doctor and psychiatrist, has written Praying With The Grain, and it is phenomenal! I've not known a psychiatrist who explains so distinctly how your personality/temperament and your childhood background affect your prayer life.
Dr. Pablo's section on the psychology of prayer is so enlightening in regards to the different temperaments and how each determines the way you pray. There are eight categories along the continuum of the thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuitive axis and Dr. Pablo helps us to understand how they interact with being an introvert or extrovert. (This is diagrammed in the book.) I found this very helpful to know and to discover more about myself.
Different Prayers for Different People: Dr. Pablo takes each psychological function and delineates the differences of the four different approaches and helps understanding each group's approach towards prayer. His purpose is for you to identify where you function and how to grow deeper in prayer. It was an eye-opening experience to see myself in the different groups. It encouraged me to work through my method and to grow in the areas where I am weak.
Overcoming Difficulties: Difficulties in praying are the result of our biography/past memoriesÃ¢â¬âthose things that we have done in our lives or what has been done to us. Our biography/past memories are Ã¢â¬Ëmarried' to another part of our personality-our unconscious. They are meshed together to make you you! Because of emotional problems, difficulties may arise when we try to pray through the course and content of prayer.
The therapeutic value of prayer: This is the portion where Dr. Pablo explains the value of prayer-for God and for you. It's a two-way street. Some of the values include an intimate relationship with God, yourself and others. It liberates us when we confess our sins and express our heart's anguish. Prayer gives us light, guidance and discernment in all the areas of our lives we are willing to receive direction. Prayer is also a means of transformationÃ¢â¬âbringing our lives into alignment with God's Word, transforming our minds so our actions follow God's Word. Dr. Pablo ever so gently invites you to enter this wonderful world of prayer.
He ends the book with a section of questions and answers, a secular psychiatrist's viewpoints on prayer, and the differences of Christian prayer and Eastern meditation. These sections are helpful to discern how a psychiatrist may discard your faith, answer questions you have, and to differentiate the different methods of meditation, some of which are not Biblical.
This book was very helpful to me to understand God, myself and others. To me, this is a Ã¢â¬Ëmust have' book to help those who struggle with prayerÃ¢â¬âwhich basically includes everyone.
This book was provided by Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5great insight into your prayer lifeMay 23, 2012bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Do you struggle with prayer? Dr. Martinez says many struggle with their prayer life not realizing that such a struggle is often a result of their own emotional make-up. Our basic personality type strongly affects both how we pray and what we pray about. Dr. Martinez has written this book because he wants to help Christians develop their prayer lives by understanding how temperaments and personalities affect our praying.
Martinez does not minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer. But he also wants to draw our attention to the influence our psychological make-up has on our prayer life.
I found his description of the prayers each kind of personality preferred to pray to be right on (at least for my personality). No wonder I don't pray like my sister.
His help in dealing with the problems of each personality is very practical and helpful. He also covers the essentials of prayer" dynamics, content, and balance.
Martinez also wants to make clear the therapeutic nature of prayer. One aspect of this part I found very interesting was the section on confession and on not "feeling" forgiven. He says that is probably an issue more related to self-esteem than to faith. Confessing to God in the presence of another person may bring an objectivity that is lacking when we confess alone.
He has a good section on questions and answers about prayer and ends with an apologetic on prayer, answering the scientific materialistic critics. He also addresses the claim that all prayer is alike, regardless of religion, establishing the uniqueness of Christian prayer. He lastly clarifies the differences between eastern and Christian meditation, giving directions for the healthy practice of Christian meditation.
His is a freeing book for anyone who struggles with prayer. I now understand my own prayer life much better. I realize I don't pray like others I hear and that is okay. I do have some practical ideas from this book on how to make my prayer life better too.
Food for thought: "The most mature Christian is not the one who sins less, but the one who has a greater awareness of his sin and confesses it." (11)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
LaTawnia Kintz5 Stars Out Of 5Profound, practical help for your prayer lifeMay 21, 2012LaTawnia KintzQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Let me begin by quoting one of my favorite people, Dr. John Stott, "Profound, practical and personal... I cannot imagine any reader failing to be helped by it, as I have been myself." (This was in his forward for Praying with the Grain.)
I found this book to be most helpful in my own struggles with prayer and knowing that it's not because I am a colossal failure, but rather due to my personality and temperament has helped me greatly.
He provides solid and factual information tempered with a strong desire to see God's children enjoy a personal relationship with their Lord through prayer.
Dr. Martinez reveals to us how our personalities, temperaments and even emotional problems can and do affect our relationship with others as well as our relationship with God. And that affects our prayer life.
I found myself in Praying with the Grain and I found ways to help me obtain a more satisfying prayer life.
Dr. Martinez writes in a manner that easy for anyone to understand and he writes from the heart, the heart of prayer.
Praying with the Grain is a book that should be in every home of every Christian who struggles with prayer and an intimate relationship with God our Father.
I want to thank Kregel Publications for providing me with this free review copy and making it possible for me to review this book.
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