The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach

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Guilford Press, Sep 1, 2012 - Psychology - 226 pages
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Reviewing the growing body of scientific research on prayer, this book describes what is known about the behavioral, cognitive, emotional, developmental, and health aspects of this important religious activity. The highly regarded authors provide a balanced perspective on what prayer means to the individual, how and when it is practiced, and the impact it has in people's lives. Clinically relevant topics include connections among prayer, coping, and adjustment, as well as controversial questions of whether prayer (for oneself or another) can be beneficial to health. The strengths and limitations of available empirical studies are critically evaluated, and promising future research directions are identified.


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Chapter 1Introduction to the Scientific Study of Prayer
Chapter 2Prayer in Psychological Perspective
Chapter 4The Individuals Development of Prayer
Chapter 5Prayer in Coping and Adjustment
Chapter 6Prayer and Health
Chapter 7Intercessory Prayer
Chapter 8Concluding Perspectives and Possibilities

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About the author (2012)

Bernard Spilka, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Denver. He has been president of the Colorado Psychological Association, the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, and Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality) of the American Psychological Association, and vice president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Dr. Spilka is a recipient of the Scholar/Teacher Award from the United Methodist Church; the William James Award, Mentoring Award, and Distinguished Service Award from Division 36; and Distinguished Service Awards from the Colorado and Rocky Mountain Psychological Associations. Continuing to write professionally, he is author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of nine books, one monograph, and two major federal reports.

Kevin L. Ladd, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Indiana University South Bend and former pastor of United Methodist and Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations. A consulting editor for journals including the Journal of Social Psychology, Archive for the Psychology of Religion, and Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion. Dr. Ladd's research on the psychology of prayer has involved collaborations, publications, and lectures in Africa, China, Europe, India, and South America.

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