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‘Without Prayer you have Nothing’: Prayer in Uncertain Times in Trinidad

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Chapter Summary

Key to this chapter is the concept that prayer is a form of communication between humans and the spiritual realm and that what is considered prayer and what is not is defined by the community itself under study. This study of the use of prayer as part of everyday life in Trinidad suggests that prayer enables people to cope with day-to-day problems and experiences through the comfort and hope that communicating with God brings, reinforcing a cultural worldview that places God in control and so gives meaning to the individual's everyday world. The chapter focuses on understandings of health and illness and the relation of these to the wider cosmological worldview. A form of prayer frequently mentioned here are prayers used to undertake obeah. The content of prayers reflected and indeed revealed key societal issues and beliefs about how the world worked.

Keywords: God; obeah; prayer; Trinidad



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