Learning to pray according to your learning style can change your life.
Posted in , Sep 15, 2015
Some people struggle to pray regularly and rewardingly because they think of prayer in an unnecessarily narrow way.
For example, for many years, when I thought or said something like, “I really need to pray more,” the picture in my mind was of kneeling beside my bed with my hands folded and head bowed, reverently silent. No wonder I always needed to pray more. That image bears no resemblance to my personality.
Only when I began to explore prayer according to my personality—and especially my particular learning style—did my prayer life begin to expand and deepen. What do I mean by “learning style?” There are many different theories and categories related to how people learn, but one of the simplest says that most people learn best in one of three primary ways:
A person with a dominant auditory learning style can pick up information by listening and repeating that information orally—or by taking notes and reading them back. This learning style also responds well to musical formats.
Someone with a visual learning style absorbs new information best when it is presented in the form of graphs, charts, pictures, models, etc. This person flourishes in visually stimulating environments and activities.
3) Kinesthetic or Tactile
A kinesthetic learning style expresses itself in a basic attitude of “Don’t tell me or show me—let me touch it or try it!” A person with this learning style would rather try something repeatedly than have someone attempt to verbally explain something to them.
These learning styles translate into prayer styles. In my case, I am an auditory learner, but with an emphasis on words: words I read, words I hear, words I speak, and all of them in the proper order and with a compelling emphasis. Therefore, praying the Bible aloud is a rewarding prayer practice for me, as are liturgical prayers, prayers set to music and journaling my prayers.
Someone with a visual learning style, however, will connect best to God while watching an online video, interacting with a photo or a piece of art, or witnessing a sunrise or sunset (though I tend to think that connecting with God via nature crosses all learning styles).
People with kinesthetic or tactile learning styles will probably be energized in prayer by coloring, drawing or painting; by tracing or walking a labyrinth; by praying with beads; by pacing or dancing or even cooking as a form of prayer.
You probably have a dominant learning style, with a secondary learning style, so you may find great benefit in mixing and matching and experimenting with those learning styles. But if you haven’t done so already, consider learning to pray according to your dominant learning style. It may well ignite a new passion and purpose in your prayers and in your life.