Implicit Religion and Ordinary Prayer
Keywords:prayer, implicit religion, rural church, rural ministry, ordinary theology
AbstractResearch in implicit religion has been conducted in a wide range of contexts, including those commonly associated with explicit religion. This study explores ordinary prayer by analysing 1,067 prayer cards left in one rural church over a sixteen-month period. The analysis is placed in theoretical contexts defined by the study of implicit religion and the study of ordinary prayer. It uses a conceptual framework which distinguishes between three aspects of ordinary intercessory and supplicatory prayer, defined as reference, intention, and objective (ap Siôn 2007), and explores areas relevant to implicit religion by drawing on Lord’s (2006) nine types of implicit religion. Results of the analysis show that specific concrete issues were not included in 30% of prayer requests, but in the 70% of requests where concrete contexts were provided, 29% cited illness and 20% death. Overall, there were more examples of primary control (55%) than secondary control (45%), and primary control was found more often in requests which had the prayer author as a key focus and in the categories of illness, growth, work, relationships, conflict or disaster, sport or recreation, travel and general requests. Secondary control was found mainly in death and the open intention category. These results, alongside the exemplification of categories, give rise to a number of hypotheses regarding ordinary prayer and implicit religion.
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