Jornada Interdisciplinar de Pesquisa em Teologia e Humanidades

Jornada Interdisciplinar de Pesquisa em Teologia e Humanidades, v.1, n.1, 2011.

What is the Psychology of Prayer?

Kevin L. Ladd 1

One way to think about religion is that the word means “binding together.” This conceptualization includes both a mental component (e.g., thinking alike), but also a critical nautical component. The latter facet refers to a binding of a ship to the shore. In this sense, it is clear that the connection must be flexible if it is not to snap as the water level rises and falls. So, too, the emphasis here for “religion” is that flexibility is crucial is faith is to survive. In communities of believers, this flexing happens on the levels of both human and divine interactions as seen through the enactment of religious rituals. We argue that these malleable yet structured rituals have a basis in the human capacity for mimicry. In very basic terms, people imitate each other physically, mentally (with ideas), and spiritually. We believe that praying represents a fundamental form of spiritual mimicry.

1 Indiana University South Bend, e-mail

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