Functions of Christian Prayer in the Coping Process

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This research project sought to examine the multiple functions that prayer serves in the coping process for members of Christian groups. We used concept mapping to describe and organize a small group of participants' perceptions concerning the functions of prayer when coping with personal difficulties, as well as examined the frequency and perceived effectiveness of these prayer functions. The number and variety of items generated by participants indicates that prayer can be used in multiple ways to deal with personal problems. Inspection of these items and the resulting concept map yielded three bipolar dimensions that describe a variety of prayer functions: approach/avoidance; internal focus/external focus; and deferring/self-directing. The arrangement of items also corresponded roughly to a three-factor structure found in several existing coping measures. Participants reported that the most effective prayer functions involve seeking guidance and expressing gratitude.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Mary K. Bade is a practicing psychologist in Austin, TX., Email: 2: Stephen W. Cook is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Psychology Clinic at Texas Tech University., Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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