The Psychology of Prayer: A Review of Empirical Research

  • Tania ap SiônEmail author
  • Leslie J. Francis
Part of the International Handbooks of Religion and Education book series (IHRE, volume 3)


After years of comparative neglect, a renewed research interest developed in the field of prayer during the mid-1980s and has led to prayer being recognized as of central importance in understanding the role of religion and spirituality in human development and human functioning. In the context of this developing research agenda, the present chapter concentrates on three themes. The first theme focuses on research concerned with the subjective effects of prayer, looking at the correlates of prayer among those who engage in that activity. The second theme focuses on research concerned with the objective effects of prayer, giving particular attention to clinical trials of “prayer treatment”, examining the medical outcomes of patients who do not know that they are being prayed for. The third theme focuses on the content of prayer as a window through which to view the religion and spirituality of ordinary people.


Coronary Care Unit Secondary Control Objective Effect Death Anxiety Intercessory Prayer 
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Biographical details

  1. Mrs Tania ap Siôn is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK and Director of the St Mary’s Centre at St Deiniol’s Library, UK.Google Scholar
  2. The Revd Professor Leslie J Francis is Professor of Religions and Education at the University of Warwick, UK.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Mary’s Centre, St Deiniol’s LibraryHawardenUK
  2. 2.University of WarwickUK

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