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God Give Me Strength: Exploring Prayer as Self-Disclosure

Abstract

The current project was designed to examine the contention that written prayers about difficult life events function as self-disclosure to God and are structurally and effectively the same as other forms of written self-disclosure, at least in the short term. Over four writing sessions, 155 participants either wrote about mundane experiences (the control group) or wrote narratives about traumatic or stressful life events that were targeted at no one, targeted at a person of their choice, or construed as prayers to God. The results indicate that written prayers are lexically similar to the other two types of written narratives and distinct from the control group. Furthermore, the immediate effects of trauma writing on mood and physical well-being were similar as well. These findings have potentially important implications for understanding the relationship between personal prayer and a variety of health outcomes.

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Correspondence to Patrick R. Bennett.

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Bennett, P.R., Elliott, M. God Give Me Strength: Exploring Prayer as Self-Disclosure. J Relig Health 52, 128–142 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-011-9460-1

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Keywords

  • Prayer
  • Health
  • Self-disclosure