Prayer isn’t the easiest thing we do.
Life is full and finding time and the words to say and the words to hear can be challenging. Yet, a very popular personality tool, called the Enneagram, can give us some insight on prayer. Today’s post is by my friend Ryan Lui, an accredited practitioner of the Enneagram.
According to the Enneagram, there are nine personalities categorized primarily by an overarching fixation in life. If God is the answer to all our desires and problems, then the Enneagram can help guide our prayer life efficiently and fruitfully toward him.
Here is a quick description of each Enneagram type’s problem fixation and their prayer focus.
Ones desire goodness in themselves, others and the world, and are fixated on what’s wrong (in themselves, others and the world). The focus of the One’s prayer will be serenity: accepting what they cannot change and lifting it up to God.
Twos desire love of self, others and God. They are fixated on the needs of others and the world and burdened by the perceived responsibility to solve them all. The focus of the Two’s prayer will be humility: accepting their own finiteness and trusting God’s infinite power to save.
Threes desire the recognition of others and are fixated on the need to meet and exceed the perceived expectations of others. The focus of the Three’s prayer will be integrity: taking off their mask, embracing authenticity and living for an audience of one.
Fours desire perfection in beauty and are fixated on what is missing in their life and the world. The focus of the Four’s prayer will be gratitude: recognizing the many and rich blessings of God in their life and in the world.
Fives desire understanding and are fixated on their lack of resources and abilities. The focus of the Five’s prayer is non-attachment: detaching themselves from the finiteness of their understanding and embracing God’s ability to appear and provide.
Sixes desire stability and are fixated on the possibilities of failure and danger. The focus of the Six’s prayer is courage: stepping onto the waters, recognizing God’s call to trust and walk in faith in Him.
Sevens desire experience and are fixated on the future at the expense of the present. The focus of the Seven’s prayer is sobriety: experiencing God in the mundane and ordinariness of the here and now.
Eights desire autonomy and are fixated on controlling as much of their life as possible. The Eight’s focus in prayer is innocence: acknowledging and embracing their emotional needs to God as their loving Father.
Nines desire peace and are fixated on the aversion of conflict and burdened by their frequent avoidance of necessary conflict toward worthy endeavors. The Nine’s focus in prayer is participation: taking up Christ’s yoke together, walking and working together toward growth and fruitfulness.
Although we would all benefit from prayerfully reflecting on all of the these fixations and focuses, it’s helpful to be more mindful of the specific area that has often pervaded our own life and to purposefully invite God into it as our ultimate hope and salvation.
Ryan is Pastor of Life Groups at Tenth Church, Vancouver, B.C. He is the author of Being is Greater Than Doing. You can download Ryan’s 60+ page eBook on the Enneagram, The Nine Kinds of Christians, and other resources for life at ryanlui.com.