A higher selfhood : an investigation of Christian science thoughts and practices about healing prayer use
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It is the purpose of this thesis to further knowledge and understanding of why, when, and how people pray for their health. Many Christian Scientists believe in the effectiveness of prayer as a tool for maintaining and obtaining health. The question of how prayer operates in Christian Science, and what role it plays in the lives of its adherents, is the focus of this thesis. The research is performed as a case study, looking at the role of prayer in Christian Science as described through in-depth interviews with four young Christian Scientists who hold varying degrees of attachment to the faith. The following research questions formed the groundwork for analysis of the research participants’ responses: 1. How do young adult Christian Scientists reflect upon and use healing prayer? 2. How are the concepts of religious coping and attachment behaviours relevant to understanding how young adult Christian Scientists use and reflect on healing prayer? The findings suggest that positive constructions and perceptions of the divine, coupled with a belief in the efficacy of prayer as a treatment method, lend themselves to the positive effect of prayer on health. The findings also identified that discouragement and fear may also accompany the use of prayer, which suggests the universal nature of spiritual struggle across different faiths.