Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Praying With the Grain by Dr. Pablo Martinez

Do you struggle with prayer? Dr. Martinez says many struggle with their prayer life not realizing that such a struggle is often a result of their own emotional make-up. Our basic personality type strongly affects both how we pray and what we pray about. Dr. Martinez has written this book because he wants to help Christians develop their prayer lives by understanding how temperaments and personalities affect our praying.
Martinez does not minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer. But he also wants to draw our attention to the influence our psychological make-up has on our prayer life.
I found his description of the prayers each kind of personality preferred to pray to be right on (at least for my personality). No wonder I don't pray like my sister.
His help in dealing with the problems of each personality is very practical and helpful. He also covers the essentials of prayer” dynamics, content, and balance.
Martinez also wants to make clear the therapeutic nature of prayer. One aspect of this part I found very interesting was the section on confession and on not “feeling” forgiven. He says that is probably an issue more related to self-esteem than to faith. Confessing to God in the presence of another person may bring an objectivity that is lacking when we confess alone.
He has a good section on questions and answers about prayer and ends with an apologetic on prayer, answering the scientific materialistic critics. He also addresses the claim that all prayer is alike, regardless of religion, establishing the uniqueness of Christian prayer. He lastly clarifies the differences between eastern and Christian meditation, giving directions for the healthy practice of Christian meditation.

His is a freeing book for anyone who struggles with prayer. I now understand my own prayer life much better. I realize I don't pray like others I hear and that is okay. I do have some practical ideas from this book on how to make my prayer life better too.
Food for thought: “The most mature Christian is not the one who sins less, but the one who has a greater awareness of his sin and confesses it.” (119)

Monarch Books, Kregel Publications, 175 pages.

Pablo Martinez was trained as a medical doctor and psychiatrist, and works at a Christian hospital in Barcelona. He has also developed a wide ministry as lecturer and counselor. He is a former Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Spanish Theological Seminary.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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