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Introduction: Prayer in Religion and Spirituality

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book Prayer in Religion and Spirituality. Prayer is a phenomenon which seems to be characteristic not only of participants in every religion, but also men and women who do not identify with traditional religions. The book shows that prayer is not merely petition but has additional content and motivation. It presents types of group prayer (communal liturgies, finding God in secular events, communal examine or discernment) and crowd prayer. The book shows how public religious gestures of prayer appear among relatively unchurched people. It explores how prayer and politics may interact. The book also discusses Naraloka Prarthana. It describes prayer for the dead in the daily practice of Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist movement. The book explains the ways in which the interviewees' experiences of having heard and felt Jesus and the Holy Spirit can exist in relation to a scientific worldview.

Keywords: crowd prayer; group prayer; Holy Spirit; Jesus; Naraloka Prarthana; Soka Gakkai; spirituality



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