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Maggie Syme and Rebecca Syme

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Prayer is an act of communication between an individual and a specific reality, such as a supernatural being or natural force. It is a central practice of many religions, typically the means of connecting the individual or group to the divine. However, prayer has been shown to be prevalent among both religious and non-religious persons. The multidimensional nature of prayer makes it easily adaptable to a variety of human experiences. Though prayer is used by both religious and nonreligious alike, the dominant function of prayer is as a means of religious expression. Each religion, however, utilizes prayer in a slightly different way. In some religions, for instance, prayer is a daily requirement, whereas other religions encourage regular prayer with no stipulated practice. Some faiths encourage public prayer and some emphasize private prayer. The monotheistic religions emphasize both ritual (or sacramental) and spontaneous prayer. Most religions believe that the divine being or force (god, universe, nature) reciprocates communication with the individual or group and may measure the effectiveness of prayer by external signs or circumstances. Different religions emphasize different elements of prayer. The Second Pillar of Islam is ritual prayer – five prayers each day at set times with accompanying bodily positions of veneration. Buddhists practice metta , which is a combination ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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