Some people don’t realize that. They think that we all must approach God the same way, using the same prayers, disciplines, and postures of worship. In reality, each of us has a worship “style” that is as unique as our own personality.
In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas identifies nine pathways that people use to draw near to God.
- Naturalists love God outside in nature
- Sensates love God with their senses and appreciation of beauty
- Traditionalist love God through rituals, symbols, liturgies, and structure
- Ascetics love God in solitude and simplicity
- Activists love God through confronting evil and working towards a great cause
- Caregivers love God by serving others and meeting practical needs
- Enthusiasts love God with mystery and celebration
- Contemplatives love God through adoration
- Intellectuals love God through study with the mind
Which ones resonate with you?
Rather than attempting a one-size-fits-all approach to worship, it is essential for the wellbeing of our soul to identify and implement our preferred worship “style.”
If you’re a sensate, quit limiting yourself to structured liturgies and forms. If you’re a caregiver, don’t feel that your service is less spiritual than a formal “devotional time.” God created you with your uniqueness, and when you follow your unique worship style your acts of spiritual discipline will never be unsatisfying or dry. They will be rich, life-giving, and vibrant.
God created you to know Him, so get busy knowing Him through the distinctives of how He created you.
Reference: Gary Thomas, Sacred Pathways (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI: 1996)