Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2011

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

Psychology: Clinical/Experimental

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, General; Psychology, Experimental; Psychology, Cognitive; Religion, General

Keywords

prayer, God, schema, Spiritual Assessment Inventory

Disciplines

Cognition and Perception | Other Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Religious ideologies and spiritual frameworks are first formed and later held together by the linking of encounters with the sacred, a spiritual Entity, ritualistic practices, and/or the recognition of spirituality in others or within one’s self. The concept of schemata, which are the mind’s processing frameworks wherein the individual connects information in a purposeful and meaningful way is fundamentally tied to this process of deliberating faith. According to the Christian faith, prayer molds this conceptualization of God. This study endeavors to establish the relationship between the subjective nature of schemata and its supernatural implications: how prayer influences one’s view of God. In an effort to tap into varying understandings of biblical themes and ensuing behaviors, each participant completed the Spiritual Assessment Inventory, a question pertaining to the most persistent descriptors of his/her own understanding of the nature or character of God, and an open-ended question given as an opportunity to expound upon his/her God-view. Participants completed this questionnaire (the post-test was slightly altered from the pre-test) before and after the incorporation of the experimental forty days of prayer. Results showed changes across all of the SAI’s subscales. The most active (the attribute with the highest frequency of change) was All-Powerful. The post-assessment open-ended question revealed two trends: participants highlighted God’s non-human qualities and a heightened awareness of His desire for a relationship with creation.

Comments

A special thanks to Todd W. Hall (Spiritual Assessment Inventory) and Paul Rajski (contemplative prayer) for lending permission to distribute their publications.