Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Divinity (MDiv)


Harold D. Bryant


prayer, chaplaincy, well-being, self-disclosure, closeness and control, faith


Christianity | Religion


Spiritual Assessment is the central contribution of chaplains to an interdisciplinary team. If it is confirmed that prayer is beneficial, and, furthermore, that certain prayer types are more beneficial than others; should not the patient’s spiritual assessment include recognition of whether he has been participating in the most beneficial forms of prayer as opposed to those less beneficial (and perhaps why)? If prayer is integral to patient well-being, then absence of prayer, or using prayer types of least benefit for the well-being of the patient, should be noted as of potential clinical importance on the patient’s chart. In this study, prayer is established as the mode of communication in a person’s relationship with God. Four general prayer types, Colloquial (adoration, confession, and thanksgiving), meditative (reception), petitionary (supplication), and ritual (obligatory), are assessed for contribution to patient well-being. The mediating factors of faith (prayer by and for Christians), self-disclosure, and the relational processes of closeness and control determined a negative association between confession, petition, and ritual types of prayer and well-being, while determining a positive association of adoration, thanksgiving, and meditative prayer types with well-being. Furthermore, data in the literature showed prayers of thanksgiving to consistently outperform all other prayer types and subtypes tested for effects upon well-being. Best practices in prayer dictate that healthcare patients exercising faith through expressions of gratitude toward God in the form of prayers of thanksgiving fare better than those who use petitionary, ritualistic and confession prayer types or who don’t pray at all.

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