Friday, September 14, 2012

Spirituality and Personality Types

This is something I pulled together for the Heart, Mind and Soul Sunday School class at Epworth. Recently someone asked me for a copy of it, so I decided to post it here.

If you don't know your Myers-Briggs Type, you can find a test here.

This information is based on Prayer and Temperament by Michael and Norrisey)

WARNING: These are tendencies—how you tend to act. No one style is “better” or “worse” than another. This is a tool to help you understand yourself and others. Most of the types are inclined toward one type of prayer or another; however, a balanced prayer life will incorporate many different types of prayer and like a balanced diet you need to have some of all of them for your spiritual health. But always remember that Jesus is in the business of transforming us into new people and one of the joys of Christian growth and living is learning to act out of different tendencies/preferences. —Sherill

ESTPs are people of action, unpredictable, yet resourceful promoters, pragmatists. They in truth can say that their work is their prayer provided it is done for the glory of God and the welfare of their neighbor.
• Don’t need as much formal prayer as others
• Often find it difficult to make a deep commitment
• Tend to avoid stress
• Need practical regime of regular self-discipline and self-sacrifice
• Tend to pray while doing other things, but need to find at least a half hour a day for formal prayer and meditation. Suggestions for types of prayer:
o Lectio Divino (Meditating on Scripture)
o Centering Prayer
o Spontaneous prayers and songs of praise throughout the day
o When alone, prayers and songs can be said aloud.
• Communal religious experiences are especially meaningful. Therefore, helpful religious experiences include:
o Emmaus Walk
o Group Spiritual Retreats
• Books of the Bible:
o Psalms of Praises
o Gospel of John
o Gospel of Mark

ISTPs are very practical, precise, efficient, quiet, reserved, objective, factual. They are artisans and craftsmen. They are good at exploration and usually possess tireless energy in pursing the object of their search.
• Prefer action over prayer, so need to find ways of prayer that can be used while working
o Prayer of the Practice of the Presence of God
o Breathe Prayer
o Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.)
o Lectio Divino
o Use of imagination in bible study –“What might I say to Jesus and what might Jesus say to me?”
o Free and spontaneous exploration of scripture
• Thrive on deep thinking and concentration
o Need to spend at least 30 minutes in the practice of formal prayer
o Need orderly structure and self-discipline
o Quiet, reflective services may be nurturing (such as Taize)
• Need communal worship experiences among a spirit-filled community in which they feel at home
o Emmaus
o Need trustworthy spiritual friends
o Need well conducted, orderly prayer groups
• Try not to get stuck in one style of prayer

ESTJs are responsible, orderly, realistic, matter-of-fact, conservative and consistent. ESTJs like Standard Operating Procedures and seek to preserve the established order.
• Prefer traditional prayers
• Need to do one thing at a time
• Become distracted with monotonous repetition
• Prefer set liturgy (prefer the sameness of worship from week to week)
• Law and order folks who follow the rules of the church even when they disagree
• Resist abrupt changes
• Need at least 30 minutes of solitary prayer
o Spontaneous prayer
o Lectio Divino
o Use of imagination in bible study –“What might I say to Jesus and what might Jesus say to me?”
• Need supportive spiritual community
o Prayer and discipleship groups
o Emmaus Walk
o Congregational participation

ISTJs are serious, quiet, thorough, orderly, logical, matter-of-fact. They are duty-oriented and no-nonsense persons who like everything organized, proper, straight-forward. They are guardians of time-honored institutions, resistant to change, and conservative by nature. They find it difficult to handle strong feelings and emotions and may give the impression of having ice in their veins when a decision has to be made. They can be pillars of strength for any institution and, with their strong convictions, can be charismatic leaders.
• Need to spend substantial time alone with God each day
• Suggested practices
o Lectio Divino
o Directed Spiritual retreats
o Set traditional prayers are helpful but might need to be changed from time to time
o Keeping of a spiritual journal
• Prayer groups may or may not be helpful but Spiritual support groups, such as Emmaus reunion groups will be very helpful.

ESFPs are born leaders, good entertainers, very attractive personalities, and easily attract a large following. People enjoy having them around. Wherever they go, they bring warmth, excitement, optimism. ESFPs are the life of the party and love excitement. They are impulsive, frequently, putting their foot in the wrong place.
• Need to be a part of the group and part of the action
o Prayer groups are helpful
o Emmaus Walk
• Externals of religion—candles, symbols, incense—are helpful
• Need opportunities for spontaneous response to worship
• Need at least 30 minutes of solitary prayer time each day
o Lectio Divino
• May also be able to experience God in nature.

ISFPs are free spirits, who desire to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and impulse of the moment. They are capable of great intensity of feeling and have an eye for detail. Endowed with artistic ability, they are lovers of nature. The beauties of nature speak to them of God, God’s power, God’s presence, God’s beauty, God’s goodness, and God’s loving care.
• Love congregational singing
• Emmaus Walk and prayer groups are helpful experiences for them.
• Need flexible prayer types which allow them to speak to God from the heart
o Spontaneous prayer and worship
o Lectio Divino
o Worship through music, painting, dance, flower arranging, and sculpture
• Journaling would be a helpful spiritual discipline
• Need to spend at least 30 minutes a day in prayerful reflection to allow real contact with the Holy Spirit
• Need assurances of God’s personal love for them
• Scripture
o Philippians 4:4-7

The ESFJ person is the most sociable of all types. They find it easy to make friends with even total strangers. Sympathetic, their emotions are very close to the surface at all times. Out-going, soft-hearted, sentimental, they need to be loved and noticed and appreciated. They are very giving, caring, comforting. They need and seek harmony and are strongly affected by the opinion of others.
• Praying in groups is helpful for the ESFJ
o Prayer Groups
o Emmaus reunion groups
o Do not mind long charismatic prayers
• Need to learn to talk to God as if God were a friend
o Intercessory prayers for others should be a substantial part of their prayer life.
o Praise, gratitude, humility and petitions
o Spiritual journaling is also recommended
• Tend to do all the talking so they need to learn and practice the skill of listening to God.
• Helpful spiritual disciplines
o Lectio Divino
o Breath prayers
• Helpful Scriptures
o Psalms
o Historical books of the Old Testament
o Gospels
o Acts
o Epistle of James
o 1 John
• Experience both feelings of closeness to God with feelings of emptiness.

ISFJs are super-dependable, have a strong sense of duty, and usually relate well to people. They have a good sense of history and continuity and therefore may be conservative by nature. They love to minister to the needs of others and so are often overworked, imposed upon, and taken for granted. Because of their introverted tendency to avoid the limelight, they are often undervalued. Therefore, they are frequently taken advantage of by selfish, unthinking people and not appreciated for what they do. ISFJs show an intense seriousness of purpose and a great generosity in pursuing whatever goal or idea they choose.
• Solitary and silent prayer is helpful
o Lectio Divino
o Spontaneous prayer from the heart
o Need to realize it isn’t necessary to verbalize prayers
o Use of prayer books and prayers written by others
• Need to spend 30 to 60 minutes a day in prayer.
• Need to develop technique of listening to God
• Reluctant to express emotions in public
• Helpful disciplines
o Emmaus
• Not necessarily aware of mystical experiences.

Usually optimistic, ENFPs are warmly enthusiastic, imaginative, non-conformist. Their intuitive powers are quite strong. Warm and sympathetic, they are usually skilled in handling people. Their extraversion tends to be well-developed, as in their attraction to the novel and dramatic.
• Need at least an hour of prayer a day
o Lectio Divino
o Prayers of petition, praise and gratitude, or contrition
o Contemplation of the beauties of God.
o Prayers from Scripture
• Helpful scripture include
o Isaiah
o Song of Songs
o Psalms
o Gospels (particularly Luke and John)
o Paul’s letters
• Need to pray alone as well as with a community of faith
• Because of tendency to want to talk, they need to spend at least half of their prayer time in “Listening” – “Be Still and Listen” should be their motto.
• Tend to dislike repetitive prayer
• Often have mystical experiences
• Good at applying scripture to real situations of life.
• Need structure in prayer life but not too much.
• Try to not to overload self with activities.

• INFPS have a great desire to pray alone and silently.
• Need an hour of formal prayer each day.
• Helpful disciplines
o Lectio Divino
o Prayer Group but find them somewhat frustrating because of their desire to try new things
o Quiet time
o Silent retreats
o Use of short passages of Scripture (as opposed to long) for prayerful study
o Prefer Spontaneous prayers
o Spiritual journaling—to track dreams and record new ideas or insights
o Spiritual direction
• Constantly searching for new and better ways of prayer
• Helpful scripture
o Second Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55)
o Psalms
o Gospels
o Paul’s letters
• Dislike set forms of prayer
• Take seriously any hunch, intuition, or inspiration that comes—especially dreams
• Danger of becoming too self-centered so they must make a special effort to reach out to others—“What can I do today to make other happier and better for having met me?”

• ENFJ needs at least 60 minutes a day to pray alone.
o Spend half time listening
o Half trying to discern God’s will
• Helpful spiritual disciplines
o Lectio Divino
o Public worship
o Good congregational singing and liturgy
o Emmaus Walk
o Emmaus Reunion Group or prayer group
• Natural leader—takes charge even when someone else is nominally the head of the group.
• Repetitive prayer is not helpful.
• Trust intuitions, hunches, and sudden ideas
• How can I do the most good for the most people?

• Strong dislike for formal prayer and repetitive prayer
• Great need for silence
• Helpful disciplines
o Centering and contemplative prayer
o Conversational prayer
o Study of scripture is especially helpful to INFJs
o Lectio Divino
o Journaling
• Should tithe their waking hours in order to give 10% of their waking time to God and prayer. A minimum of an hour.
• Good at applying the scripture to everyday life.
• Good at seeing the signs of the times
• Must overcome a tendency to discouragement (which comes from their ability to see problems and dangers clearly) through trust in God.
• Helpful Scripture
o Second and Third Isaiah (Chapters 40-66)
o Hosea
o Psalms
o Gospels
o Paul’s letters
• Symbolic and poetic images are especially important
• Make good counselors and spiritual directors because of the4ir spiritual vision and discernment.
• Need time for leisure and as well as prayer—physical exercise and well as spiritual discipline
• Need to develop spiritual imagination.

ENTPS need challenges to bring out the best in them. Non-conformists, they love to out-wit the system. ENTPS are ingenious, always sensitive to new possibilities, resourceful, optimistic, enthusiastic, and are often inventors and innovators. Seldom critical, with a good sense of humor that laughs easily and often, they are gregarious.
• Enjoy new forms of prayer—especially complex types
• Love novelty and originality and have a strong dislike for traditional, standardized, normal ways of doing things
• Enjoy new ways of worship
• Easily bored without novelty or challenge.
• Helpful spiritual disciplines
o Spontaneous, improvised prayers
o Need some form of formal prayer
o Lectio Divino
o Prayers of petition, gratitude, praise, humility, resolution, or commitment
o Quiet contemplation
o Emmaus Walk
o Prayer groups
o Study of the history of spirituality
o Contemplative prayer
o Centering prayer
• Helpful scripture
o Psalms
o Gospel of John
o 1 John
o Ephesians
o Colossians
o Hebrews

With great power of concentration, good memory retention, INTPs prize intelligence and may be somewhat of intellectual snobs. Having a great dislike of small talk, they quickly spot inconsistency in self or in others. This temperament is the architect, the programmer, the philosopher, the mathematician.
• Prefer solitary prayer
o Need good, logical, coherent prayer that is in accord with truth.
• Able to concentrate deeply for long periods of time and needs time and quiet to do so.
• Helpful disciplines
o Centering prayer
o Contemplative prayer
o Formal meditation
o Lectio Divino
• Has difficulty using imagination
• Prefer to work with impersonal ideas and thus is tempted to become too impersonal with God.
o Need to work on intimate relationship with God
o Need to work on expressing emotions
• Good at words, they are often good at writing prayers.

The ENTJ person is known as the commandant, one who is born to lead and one who needs to lead others in order to feel fulfilled. The ENTJ seeks power and competency and is impatient with inefficiency and incompetence. Usually a very good organizer, very outgoing with people, with good intuitions, logical and rational in approach to a problem, the ENTJ wants everything planned, scheduled, structured. They enjoy working with one-two- or five-year plans for themselves and the organizations to which they belong.
• Needs good experience of community at worship
• Prefers congregational singing
• Enjoy leading prayer and worship
• Love being with people and celebrating
• Recommended spiritual disciplines
o Charismatic prayer groups
o Structured prayer
o Need to develop regular habits of praying alone
o Centering prayer
o Lectio Divino
o Use of inspirational tapes and music while doing other things
• Need help of community to activate feelings and emotions in prayer.
• Tend to be impersonal in prayer life
• Need lots of sleep to allow time for dreaming

The INTJ is the most self-confident of all types. Quite decisive, pragmatic, single-minded, INTJs do not like to be told what to do since they are usually fiercely independent. They are very introspective, dislike small-talk, always in a hurry, stubborn, determined. In their desire to control nature and people, they see themselves as human engineers and are usually very high achievers. They love to brainstorm for new insights, inspirations, ideas. They may appear to be cold, unemotional, reserved, and unable to express or feel emotions. Actually their emotions are both deep and powerful. Their reluctance to express their emotions comes from fear of their inability to control them.
• Need time for private prayer. Prayer tends to be introspective.
• Recommended spiritual disciplines
o Spiritual journaling
o Lectio Divino
o Service to others
• Favorite Scriptures
o Gospels, especially Gospel of John
o Psalms
o Isaiah
• Tend to inner loneliness and narcissistic concern about him/herself so need to cultivate disciplines that make them more God-centered.
• Tempted to theoretical study of scripture; INTJs need to be careful to not to treat God as an object.

And you can find prayers for each type here.

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