Tag Archives: Myers-Briggs

Problems of Meditation?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 19, 2017


Problems of Meditation?

Ah, now we come to the main point of difficulty. At least, my main point of difficulty. Yes, I have prayed regularly for years, and prayed sometimes for extended periods of time. (Not half as much as I should have, for which I ask great forgiveness, Lord.) And, I have had problems with prayer and meditation for years. For decades.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood about problems with meditation. He was writing to seminarians, remember; a goodly portion of them probably complained and moaned when Pastor Bonhoeffer told them how long each day he expected them to pray and meditate. The first recommendation he had, when encountering great difficulties in meditation? Practice, practice, practice. Practice earnestly and for a long time.

His second recommendation applies to me, quite well. My thoughts often flit around like insects—sometimes fluttering like butterflies, but other times zooming like quite another kind of unpleasant bug. Bonhoeffer says, “If your thoughts keep wandering, there is no need for you to hold on to them compulsively.” (Thank God.) “There is nothing wrong with letting them roam where they will; but then incorporate in your prayers the place or person to which they have gone.” [1]

Yes. I’ve known that my thoughts do fly all around, for years. And, I have asked God to send my thoughts to people or situations that need prayer. That’s one way I’ve been praying, for years.

Thank God for Bonhoeffer’s suggestion! Otherwise, I would feel really guilty about my thoughts flying around all over the place, even when I sincerely try to pray and meditate.

I admit that I have the Myers-Briggs preferences of ENFP. I have read the 16 different prayers for the 16 different personality preferences, and I can relate to the one for ENFP: “God, help me to keep my mind—look! A bird!—on one thing at a time.” So, yes. I appreciate Bonhoeffer’s understanding and patience with his students. I also appreciate my God’s understanding and patience with me. (Thank You, God!)



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 26.

Way of Prayer? Try Lectio Divina

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 2, 2015

lectio divina path through woods

Way of Prayer? Try Lectio Divina

I have about 17 days until Lent begins, with Ash Wednesday. So—what to do? How should I pray each day, in these last days of the Epiphany season?

I turn to a book that holds one of my preferred ways of looking at the world—the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI). This is a personality type and preference indicator, measuring both the way I view myself and the interior life, and the way I view others and the exterior life. This book is called Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey. It does a good job of showing the close connection and preference for different types of prayer, according to the Myers-Briggs preference classifications.

Unfamiliar with the MBTI? Don’t be too concerned. This particular way of praying, called Lectio Divina, is an ancient method. Different types of people prefer different ways of praying. Using the MBTI, the authors try to show how variations in methods of prayer can be more effective with, say, an introverted person who likes to focus on thinking and intellectual pursuits, as opposed to an extrovert who loves to express feelings freely.

Let’s look at Lectio Divina, first. A Benedictine method of prayer, it’s been in existence since at least the fourth or fifth centuries. It has four steps: lectio (reading using the senses), meditatio (thinking/the intellect), oratio (feeling/personalization) and contemplation (quiet listening/ intuition). I’m going to concentrate on Galatians 6:14.

In step one, I am drawn to the phrase “the world has been crucified to me.” With step two, I ruminate about this phrase—even word—from the verse. Focus, and try to pick it apart. Oratio? I try to find how it is applicable to me. Hmm. My understanding is that the world (or, things sinful and not pleasing to God) is supposed to have little effect on me. I must be boastful and prideful in _only_ the cross of Christ, since I put my faith in it. Fourth, I contemplate. The cross separates me from things of this world, things that can separate me from God, and orients me toward Christ. Toward how the seductive world can be just a dream, even a nightmare.

So—I will be following the four simple steps of Lectio Divina for the next two weeks, until Ash Wednesday arrives. With a reminder, the results of the Myers-Briggs test are fascinating, and enlightening. This book shows how these versatile methods in prayer can be best used, no matter what way the mind functions, no matter which type is my preference.

Ready for an indepth look at God’s word? In prayer?

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way (Focus Friday!)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 8, 2015

there's only one you Psa 139

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way

Prayer. Communication. Talking. Praise. Conversation. Contemplation. Confession. Being with. Walking alongside. Adoration. Petition. Silence. Ecstatic utterance. Practicing the presence.

All these ways are ways of prayer, of coming before God. But—which way is the best way? The preferred way? The sure and true way to come into God’s presence?

Prayer can be as natural and effortless as a child nestling in her Heavenly Parent’s lap. Certainly! And, God wants to be accessible at all times. But what about those who are puzzled, who don’t know where to start with this thing called prayer?

Each one of us is unique, and God communicates with each of us in an equally unique way. According to a book called Prayer and Temperament, which uses the personality preferences of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, if individuals deal with the outside world and their inner selves in a certain, specific way, different types of prayer might appeal to them.

This all came from something that Rev. Howell suggested in his trusty prayer guide, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, chapter 9. After some people get into the swing of prayer, we need to strive for more. Strive for maturity. I suggest going with what is challenging, even difficult. Not just with what is easy. Not just with what comes naturally. Even though that is great, too! But stretching, going into what is less familiar, more strange and different. In prayer.

I will use my own experience as an example. Some years ago, I was very hesitant to practice contemplative, or wordless, prayer. I am very word-centered. (I love words, and language, and the spoken word! I relish all sorts of prayer where I make use of the Bible and the written word.) However, I shy away from wordless prayer. Contemplation. Even when I can use one, single word, it is still a challenge for me. However—I realize that God may wish to stretch me, to cause me to grow beyond my comfort zone.

So, from time to time, I do practice contemplative prayer. And—I promise I will use this means of prayer for one month in 2015. But—later. Not yet.

Getting back to differing ways of praying, there are as many ways of praying as there are different types of people. As the authors of Prayer and Temperament say in their Introduction, “if [these suggestions] work for you and help deepen your prayer life and your relationship with God, then make use of them. . . . Think of them as ‘tools’ that are meant to assist your efforts to make contact with God, to maintain this relationship, and to deepen it through your prayer.”[1]

God willing, help us as we pray.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

[1] Chester P. Michael, Marie C. Norrisey, Prayer and Temperament; The Open Door (Charlottesville VA), 1991.