Praying with the Grain: How Your Personality Effects the Way You Pray
by Dr. Pablo Martinez
Published by Monarch Books/Elevation
Reviewed by Clint Walker
Previously published over 10 years ago under the title Prayer Life, Pablo Martinez has recently republished Praying With the Grain in partnership with Monarch Books and Elevation Books. Appropriately retitled, Dr. Martinez attempts to guide believers through a study on how prayer works, and how one's style of prayer is heavily influenced by one's temprament and personality.
Much of Martinez's study of personality discusses personality based on the Kiersey/Myers-Briggs model for understanding personality and temprament. For instance, extroverts like gathering with other believers for times of prayer together. Meanwhile, introverts enjoy preaching alone (pp. 20-23). However, that does not mean that we should just pray based upon our style with a king of "psychological determinism" (pp. 15).
The author does not simply cover the Myers-Briggs relationship to prayer. It also discusses how someone's emotional life can effect how one prays, and how one can heal emotional roadblocks to prayer. Martinez then begins to approach the prayer event with the heart of a counselor and therapist, which is completly appropriate because that is what he does by profession. Finally, in an apologetic effort, Martinez argues for the unique power in Christian prayer in comparison to what kinds of prayer other worldviews and religions have to offer.
Praying Against the Grain uniquely takes on a subject that many avoid or do not really speak to. It does well in doing this. Because of the unique role that it plays, it should have a place on anyone's bookshelf that is developing a library on prayer and/or spiritual formation.