How to find a prayer style for your personality type

I’ve been following and enjoying a series of articles on Carl Jung over at the Guardian, written by Marc Vernon.

Yesterday Vernon talked about Jung’s personality types, namely, the introvert and extrovert. This classification of personality types has stood the test of time, and been reinforced through their incorporation into personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

For the sake of this blog post, the following paragraph is the most relevant:

More elaborate, post-Jungian developments of the basic theory are harder to test, though they clearly also speak to many. For example, in the realm of spirituality, it is said that there are, broadly, four spiritual temperaments: Ignatian, Augustinian, Franciscan and Thomistic. Very roughly, an Ignatian spirituality will appeal to someone with a sense of duty; an Augustinian prioritises meaning; the Franciscan type needs to feel free; and a Thomistic spirituality values rational order and subtlety.

The reason I highlight this, is that quite coincidentally I happened upon a website that purports to find the prayer style to fit our personality type.

This website uses the Myers-Briggs indicator test to identify if we are suited to an Ignatian, Augustinian, Franciscan or Thomistic style of prayer.

My personality type came out as suiting an Augustinian style of Prayer.

Obviously I’m not reading much into this, it’s a bit of fun, but why don’t you have a go and let us know if you think the result is accurate for you.

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7 Responses to “How to find a prayer style for your personality type”

  1. Tim Says:

    For me it says Thomistic Prayer. I am trying to weigh up at the moment how accurate that is, and am coming down on the side of ‘pretty much’, lol.

  2. Phoebs Says:

    My result suggested “Intuitive Thinking” and so Thomistic Prayer suits me best.
    To be honest, I was a little unnerved by how accurate it was in describing my approach to theology, and also my approach to prayer. I can ponder and contemplate on a singular quote from a Saint for weeks. lol.

  3. Laura Sykes Says:

    Fascinating! I had never completed the Myers-Briggs (the last test I tried was so long I gave up half way).

    I read the 4 styles first and concluded I was Augustinian. I then did the test, came out as ENFP – Myers-Briggs and your linked prayer-matching site agreed with me that I should be following the Augustinian model. Now to bone up on Augustine!

  4. Goy Says:

    Your Type is
    INFJ

    Introverted 56%
    Intuitive 62%
    Feeling 12%
    Judging 33%

    NF personalities prefer Augustinian Prayer

  5. peter Denshaw Says:

    Oh this was all the rage in RC and Anglican religious communities around 20 years ago. Indeed it often insinuated itself into the community as a ‘spiritual’ exercise, but was often a backdoor means of trying to understand why monks and nuns don’t get on very well with their respective brothers or sisters in the community. (If you think monasteries or convents are places of sweetness and light, think again – many within can’t stand their fellow brethren and fists have flown in many communities (both men’s & women’s!)).

    Having just had a look at the webpage it reminded me of the kind of thing I used to read in my teens when I briefly dabbled with the lighter side of the occult – those ‘easy’ astrology type books that also dovetailed pop psychology with the metaphysical.

    You can’t beat Anthony Bloom’s ‘Living Prayer’ or St Teresa of Avila’s writing on prayer. But perhaps that is just my personality type talking.

    Whatever I find these marriages of religion and a scientific and/or post Enlightenment view of the individual and personality curious to say the least. Horses for courses – or personality types, what you will…

    But for the record I’m INTJ (along with Isaac Newton, Niels Bohr, C. G. Jung, Michel Nostradamus (and a few others I’d never heard of!), Thomistic Prayer is my bag:

    Introverted 56%
    Intuitive 75%
    Thinking 25%
    Judging 11%

    P

  6. webmaster Says:

    @Peter, I’ve already had this piece sent to me:

    JUNG REPLACES JESUS IN CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY

  7. peter Denshaw Says:

    Yes the piece has a similar feel to many of the criticisms launched against Myers-Briggs by the superior of the monastery where I was a novice. The prevailing idea at the monastery was that we should look for our identity in Christ and not in post-Enlightenment notions of ‘self’ or personality. Tho’ there was no condemnation of psychology or psychiatry; just that they should remain in their correct place.

    I must confess I have been on the receiving end of some of the ‘wacky’ syntheses of religion and pop psychology. It is weird the way even the most ‘Christian’ can become swayed by some very odd ideas. And it is not just RCs who have grown accustomed to dovetailing psychology and Christian thinking. Some of the theological/psycho-babble drivel I came across through my contact with Vine Fellowship (John Wimber’s brand of Christianity) and then True Freedom Trust can seem very alluring – it can, like much ‘half truth’ – have a common sense feel. I think the real problem or temptation of these schools of thought, is that they tend to emphasise the self – indeed can result in an unhealthy interest in the self; which is not really the point of Christianity and perhaps says something about the validity of these curious cross-breeding of ideas.

    I don’t see any problem with calling therapy ‘therapy’ but when you start blurring the boundary between the spiritual or religious and the psychological or just downright wacky I think you are into dangerous territory. Few of us would have much faith in a priest who decided he thought he was a dab had with a scalpel or a prescription pad – so why let one loose with psychological tools which are really best handled by trained professionals?

    P.

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