Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Prayer

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1590

Synonyms

Definition

Prayer in all of its variations can be defined by two fundamental principles: (1) prayer is a form of communication and (2) the exchange of communication takes place between the self and the transcendent, immanent, and numinous forces that represent human notions of the sacred. Defining prayer in this way broadens William James’ classic conceptualization of prayer as “every kind of inward communion or conversation with the power recognized as divine” to include not only that which comes from God but everything that is imbued with the power of sacredness.

Description

Throughout history, humankind has manifested a yearning to communicate with the sacred through prayer. Expressed in vastly different cultures and religious traditions, prayer constitutes a universal phenomenon that plays a crucial role in humanity’s religious experience. In fact, for many individuals, prayer is their primary religious practice.

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA