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Inward, outward, upward prayers and personal character

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Chapter Summary

This chapter notes that in a religious context, the frequency and content of prayer are forms of spiritual self-discipline and therefore should relate to discrete aspects of personal character. One-hundred and ninety-five individuals responded to multidimensional indices of virtue and of prayer. Canonical correlations revealed 4 theoretically meaningful variate pairs. These variates show the character virtues of humanity, justice, and transcendence as linked to prayers focusing on outward relations and the intensity level of prayer. Data also suggest that the character virtues of caring for others are related to prayers with similar themes and the sex of respondent. Wisdom, justice, and transcendence character virtues further associate with prayers seeking explanations and comfort. Results reveal as well that relative prayer novices relying on formalized prayers in corporate contexts display the character virtues of high energy and humor, but lower levels of modesty.

Keywords: canonical correlations; Prayers; religious traditions; spiritual self-discipline



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