Praying with the Grain - A new look at how your personality affects the way you pray

Posted by Les Ellison  ·  Be the first to comment

If you’ve ever tried to saw a piece of wood you know exactly what Pablo Martinez means when he say’s it’s always easier to ‘go with the grain’ and saw along it rather than try and cut across it. But then agian, if there’s a bit of a drift in the line of the grain, it’s easier for your cut to run out of true and off on a line you didn’t want.

Praying can be the pleasure God meant prayer to be

In the latest reissue of Pablo Martinez’ excellent guide to making prayer a pleasure, ‘Praying with the Grain’ the simple idea that knowing which way the grain goes in your own personality opens up the solution to why praying at all can be so hard.
Instead of wading in with a set of hard and fast rules for everyone, ‘Praying with the Grain’ begins with the refreshing realisation that everyone is different. And because we’re all different, the way we pray – and the reasons why we sometimes can’t, are all different too.

Pablo Martinez starts with the idea that our personalities are like the grain in the wood. To shape that wood into something purposeful, it’s much easier to go with the grain than try and cut across it. That means finding out and accepting who we are and what we’re really like.

Getting started, keeping going

‘Praying with the Grain’ helps you get to know your personality without criticism or blame. By understanding who you are, you as an individual can find an approach to prayer that’s in line with your personality. Using well tried and easy to use methods, Pablo Martinez leads you step by step to an understanding of your own personality
Do you tend to think or feel your way through a problem? Do you rely most on what your senses or on your intuition? Do you focus your energies and emotions internally or are you more extrovert? Helping you build up a picture of your personality, ‘Praying with the Grain’ explains how your personality affects the way you pray and sometimes can’t.

With an honest approach to why praying can be so difficult at times, Pablo Martinez begins with the problem of simply getting started. Quoting from C S Lewis, he considers the old devil Screwtape’s tactic of driving away even ‘the serious intention of praying’. Moving through difficulties of concentration, distraction and even the absence of a sense of God’s presence ‘Praying with the Grain’ proposes simple exercises to help create a way of praying suited to your personality.

Different people, different prayers

With helpful words for those who find public prayer difficult, ‘Praying with the Grain’ includes a framework for balanced prayer with insight on how your personality can be used to help you focus on approaching God with prayers of request, confession and intercession.

In the concluding section of ‘Praying with the Grain’ Pablo Martinez discusses the value of prayer to the individual and to the praying community. Openly addressing the secular criticisms made of any kind of prayer, he explains the differences and similarities between different cultural and religious concepts of prayer and meditation. Finally, Pablo Martinez offers four simple pieces of advice for healthy prayer.
Perhaps most encouragingly ‘Praying with the Grain’ emphasises that individuality is not a barrier to God, quoting Isaiah: “You are precious and honoured in my sight …I have called you by name: you are mine.’ In conclusion, Pablo Martinez says: ‘The individuality of each person acquires its highest expression in Christ who gives us a new identity, our own dignity and a deep non-transferable sense of personhood. Author snap-shot: Dr  Pablo Martinez

A founding member of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity with a wide ministry as lecturer, counsellor and visiting Word Alive and Spring Harvest speaker, Dr Pablo Martinez is a doctor and psychiatrist in Barcelona, Spain. Currently Chairman of the European Christian Counsellors Network, he also serves as a member of the Sociopolitical Commission of the European Evangelic Alliance. Author of ‘Tracing the rainbow: Walking through Lass and Bereavement’ and ‘A Thorn in the Flesh: Finding Strength and Hope amid Suffering’ some of the material in his latest book ‘Praying with the Grain’ was previously issued under the title ‘Prayer Life’. Dr Martinez’ wife, Marta is also a medical doctor. He is an enthusiastic reader and birdwatcher.

Quick Guide to

‘Praying with the Grain’ by Pablo Martinez - what is it?

  • Reassurance and encouragement in understanding how your personality affects the way you prayer and sometimes can’t.
  • Practical advice on how to restore the pleasure of your prayer life and line up the way you pray with your own personality.
  • Answers to the questions about how to get started in prayer, how to pray healthy, balanced prayers, and how prayer is different from the meditation practiced in other religious cultures.

‘Praying with the Grain’ by Pablo Martinez – what will it do for me?

  • Give you an insight into understanding your personality, the person you really are and how that affects your approach to prayer and the way you pray.
  • Give you a practical guide to starting to pray, balanced prayer and lining up your prayer life with the kind of person you are.
  • Encouragement to find your true identity in Christ and renewed pleasure in building your relationship with God through prayer.

Over to You

At you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.

‘Praying with the Grain’ helps you build a healthy prayer life by understanding your personality and who you really are. Author Dr Pablo Martinez, says that getting started in prayer is sometimes the hardest part.

  • How do you get started in your private prayers, do you have a method for getting yourself into the right frame of mind for prayer?
  • What’s your biggest barrier to starting in pray, have you developed a strategy to overcome it that works for you?

 Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips – beautiful, bizarre and brilliant at

19th January

January 19th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison

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