Psychology of Religion - Religion and Prayer

Religion and Prayer

Prayer is fairly prevalent in the United States. About 75% of the United States reports praying at least once a week. However, the practice of prayer is more prevalent and practiced more consistently among Americans who perform other religious practices. There are four primary types of prayer in the West. Poloma and Pendleton, utilized factor analysis to delineate these four types of prayer: meditative (more spiritual, silent thinking), ritualistic (reciting), petitionary (making requests to God), and colloquial (general conversing with God). Further scientific study of prayer using factor analysis has revealed three dimensions of prayer. Ladd and Spilka’s first factor was awareness of self, inward reaching. Their second and third factors were upward reaching (toward God) and outward reaching (toward others). This study appears to support the contemporary model of prayer as connection (whether to the self, higher being, or others).

Prayer appears to have health implications. Empirical studies suggest that mindfully reading and reciting the Psalms (from scripture) can help a person calm down and focus. Prayer is also positively correlated with happiness and religious satisfaction (Poloma & Pendleton, 1989, 1991). Overall, slight health benefits have been found fairly consistently across studies. Three main pathways to explain this trend have been offered: placebo effect, focus and attitude adjustment, and activation of healing processes. (Whether the activation of healing processes explanation is supernatural or biological, or even both, is beyond the scope of this study and this article.)

Read more about this topic:  Psychology Of Religion

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Famous quotes containing the words prayer and/or religion:

    But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
    Bible: New Testament, Luke 1:13-15.

    My religion is no garment to be put on and off with the weather. You had better know that, all of you. I shall worship as I please and hope for all men to worship as they please in Scotland.
    Dudley Nichols (1895–1960)