Special Issue "Variety and Essence of Prayer – Interdisciplinary Approaches"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Arndt Büssing
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professorship Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
Interests: mind-body medicine approaches; spirituality and health; quality of life; coping; questionnaire development; integrative medicine; clinical studies; health service research; spiritual dryness; awe
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Stefan Walser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Philosophical-Theological Academy, Münster, Germany
Interests: Systematic theology; Changes of Faith in modern societies; Theology of Prayer; Franciscan Spirituality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prayers have different forms and functions in different religious traditions. They are used to praise God in times of health and wealth, but also to cope in times of insecurity and suffering, or to re-connect with the Sacred. Moreover, apart from the theistic types of prayer, there are other forms which have similar structures (i.e., mantras, affirmations, blessings, etc.) and often similar functions but are less described and analyzed in detail.

This Special Issue raises the question of the essence and function of prayer and therefore focuses on all different forms of praying in different religious traditions:

  • Empirical and qualitative studies on the usage of prayers and related effects (private prayer, intercessory prayers);
  • Praying in different social and religious groups;
  • Prayer in its hermeneutical, epistemological, and performative implications;
  • Theological and anthropological studies on its religious and cultural relevance;
  • Forms, types, and function of prayers to connect with God (i.e., praise/worship, petitionary, ritual, liturgical, reflexive, etc.), inclusively religious songs and silent prayers (contemplation) as specific forms

This Special Issue should thus become a relevant resource of studies in this wide field and invites all related disciplines, i.e., theology, philosophy of religion, psychology, sociology, literary studies, anthropology, medicine, etc.

Prof. Dr. Arndt Büssing
Dr. Stefan Walser
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
‘Beyond Boundaries or Best Practice’ Prayer in Clinical Mental Health Care: Opinions of Professionals and Patients
Religions 2020, 11(10), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100492 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 772
Abstract
The use of prayer in mental health care is controversial. Several scholars in the field have emphasized possibilities, whereas others have expressed clear disapproval. The aim of the current study was to describe opinions about prayer of mental health professionals (MHPs) and patients [...] Read more.
The use of prayer in mental health care is controversial. Several scholars in the field have emphasized possibilities, whereas others have expressed clear disapproval. The aim of the current study was to describe opinions about prayer of mental health professionals (MHPs) and patients in a Christian (CC) and a secular (SC) mental health clinic. Content analysis was applied to 35 patient interviews and 18 interviews with MHPs. Most of the nurses in both clinics were open to the possible use of prayer, frequently argued by assisting patients in case of inability, but also by personal belief in its potency. Practitioners in both clinics were sometimes reticent or reluctant towards prayer. In the CC the nurses practiced prayer regularly, but all of them mentioned preconditions (like a similar outlook on life) and patients were stimulated to pray themselves. All patients in the CC and most of the patients in the SC had no objections against prayer and tended to focus on the benefits, like tranquility and relief. Prayer in mental health care could be practiced, especially by nurses, in cases of inability of patients, when considered beneficial and when a similar religious background is present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Variety and Essence of Prayer – Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Article
Perception of Religious Brothers and Sisters and Lay Persons That Prayers Go Unanswered Is a Matter of Perceived Distance from God
Religions 2020, 11(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040178 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
Background: Sometimes prayer life can be difficult even for very religious persons, who may experience phases of “spiritual dryness”, which may have a negative effect on their well-being. Methods: To address this topic, we analyzed three contrasting groups of persons (religious brothers and [...] Read more.
Background: Sometimes prayer life can be difficult even for very religious persons, who may experience phases of “spiritual dryness”, which may have a negative effect on their well-being. Methods: To address this topic, we analyzed three contrasting groups of persons (religious brothers and sisters (RBS), n = 273; Catholic lay persons (CLP), n = 716; other lay persons (OLP), n = 351) with standardized measures and investigated how often indicators of spiritual dryness were perceived within these groups and how the perception that private prayers go unanswered could be a result of this. Results: Spiritual dryness was highest in RBS compared to RLP and OLP. For RBS, perception of being “spiritually empty” was the best predictor of prayers going unanswered, indicating emotional/spiritual exhaustion, while in OLP, the perception that God is “distant” was the best predictor, indicating that, particularly in this (younger) group, spiritual doubt is of particular relevance. For CLP, feeling that God is distant, feeling abandoned by God, and feeling “spiritually empty” were similarly relevant predictors of feelings that prayers go unanswered. Conclusions: This knowledge may help psychologists/psychotherapists, pastoral workers, and spiritual advisors to differentiate the underlying causes of spiritual dryness (in terms of “discernment”) and thus support persons struggling with God, their faith, and life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Variety and Essence of Prayer – Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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