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ss nucleus - winter 2007,  Prayer Life - how your personality affects the way you pray (Book Review)

Prayer Life - how your personality affects the way you pray (Book Review)

Prayer Life - how your personality affects the way you pray - Pablo Martinez - Spring Harvest and Authentic Media, 2001 - £8.99 Pb - 156pp - ISBN 1850784361

This book discusses prayer in a very candid and compassionate way. Dr Martinez has a clear understanding of the emotional and psychological issues surrounding the matter of prayer in the Christian's life and the contributions of 'ordinary Christians' to which he refers throughout the book only add to its appeal.

My fear, despite the reassuring presence of the authors' strong commitment to evangelical Christianity from the various distinguished positions he has held (eg President of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance) as well a foreword by John Stott, was that I would open the book to find an incomprehensible torrent of 'psychobabble'. I also wondered how in the world an evangelical Christian could think that psychology could be helpful to a biblical prayer life. However, I found the book logical, with an evidence base of work from other psychologists, secular and Christian as well as the experiences of people Dr Martinez has counselled.

Prayer Life consists of two parts. Part one deals with the psychology of prayer and part two with the apologetics of prayer. Simply, Dr Martinez argues that a person's experience of God in prayer is affected by their spiritual condition before God, their temperament and their personality. Furthermore, he writes that understanding one's personality type (a combination of introversion/extroversion, sensation/intuition and feeling/thinking) helps to identify strengths and potential pitfalls in each person's prayer life. Part one finishes with a very helpful section discussing frequently asked questions. Without being overly prescriptive or didactic, correction is given as the author reassures of God's goodness and suggests workable solutions. Dr Martinez also asserts that prayer is an intimate relationship with God, and presents a convincing case for its therapeutic value as a result of that primary relationship.

Part two focuses on the apologetics of prayer. The first chapter deals with the view of prayer as mere psychological suggestion. The second contrasts Christian prayer and meditation with Eastern meditation. The biblical bases for his arguments are clear, convincing and easy to follow as he explores some of the ideas that have shaped modern thinking on the subject. These chapters were very helpful and helped me think about the importance of prayer in evangelism.

The author's passion about his reader's relationship with God is palpable throughout. This honest, relevant and useful book about Christians and true Christian prayer is steeped in biblical truth. Its 156 short pages could change your whole understanding of prayer and deepen your faith in God through Jesus, as it has mine.

Reviewed by:
Tijesunimi Abiola
Clinical student at The Royal Free and University College Medical School

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