Based on Praying the Way Jesus Prayed
I love that Mark Link writes about personalities and styles of prayer. It’s very freeing to think that my natural inclinations, likes and dislikes, and personal strengths are okay. God does not expect me to pray or act or speak like a particular saint or biblical character; I am created to be myself. And my spiritual journey is always taking me to my best self, Vinita infused with Holy Spirit love and passion, wisdom and grace.
We tend to have certain ideas about what prayer should be like, what we, ourselves, should be like, if we are to be properly spiritual. We think of quiet, serious, orderly, emotionally stable. Or we think of joyful, demonstrative, and spontaneous. The truth of the matter: God created these marvelous and diverse personalities for us to enjoy. They are gifts for us to offer God. We are God’s gifts to one another.
So why do we judge ourselves? Why do we judge one another? The Holy Spirit is quite capable of letting us know when we have sinned, when we have caused harm or have turned away from the God who loves us. If we could leave the judging to the Holy Spirit, we would have more time and energy to be ourselves and let others be themselves.
Just think how much more people would pray if they weren’t afraid of doing it “wrong.” How freely could you pray if you allowed your personality, emotions, and desires to energize your conversation with God, rather than allowing them to discourage you from approaching God at all?
If you haven’t read chapter 3, “We Personalize,” from Father Link, please do so. And take a look at today’s exercise below.
List your personality traits. Spend time thinking about them. Consider their light side and “shadow” side (for instance, it’s good to be outgoing, but we can use an outgoing nature to intimidate others). Then thank God for your traits—for all that makes you, you.
Now, given your set of traits, what kinds of prayer (spoken, traditional, meditation, reading Scripture, contemplation, conversational, etc) come to you most naturally? Experiment with prayer this week, according to your strengths and weaknesses.