Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The lived experience of being healed through prayer in adults active in a Christian church
by Helming, Mary Ann Blaszko, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2007, 276; 3273550
Abstract (Summary)

This project is a qualitative, phenomenological study of the lived experience of being healed through prayer in adults active in a Christian church. The participants included 20 adults (two males and 18 females) from 23 to 84 years of age. Participants were selected from three Protestant churches in the New Haven, Connecticut, area: United Methodist, Episcopalian, and Congregational denominations representing two suburbs and one inner-city area. Participants were interviewed and audio-taped for one to two hours using a ten-question, semi-structured interview guide with one primary question: "Would you please tell me your personal story of your experience or experiences of being healed through prayer, if you have any?" Other questions discussed the nature of their prayer practices, the meaning of prayer, the issue of unanswered prayer, and other known prayer and healing experiences. Transcripts of each interview and significant individual themes were created, and then validated by each participant. Individual themes were grouped into clustered themes and sub-themes in the following areas: (1) spirituality and suffering (sub-themes of purpose in suffering and spiritual meaning of suffering); (2) the healing experience (sub-themes of problems that were healed, incomplete healings or recurrences, and healings of friends and family); (3) the connecting network of God (sub-themes of connection to God, connection to others, meaning of prayer, methods of prayer, and unanswered prayer); (4) spiritual transformation of prayer (sub-themes of changed lives and sense of purpose); and (5) spiritual phenomena (sub-themes of sense of God's presence, use of complementary and alternative medicine, and mysterious phenomena). All participants believed they had experienced meaningful healing through prayer. Primary diagnoses were cancer (breast, ovarian, and colorectal) and emotional illness (depression, grieving, anxiety/stress). Other diagnoses included tobacco/alcohol dependence, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, influenza, hepatitis C, and infertility. Seventeen of the 20 participants stated they experienced spiritual transformation (i.e., alteration of life purpose, meaning or relationship to God and others). The essence of the lived experience of being healed through prayer is two-fold: the participants experienced being in the presence of Sacred Mystery and experienced spiritually transformative journeys.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Williams, M. Willson
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 68/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Theology, Nursing
Keywords: Christian, Healing prayer, Prayer
Publication Number: 3273550
ISBN: 978-0-549-13537-1
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