Individual Prayer Behavior in Times of Personal Distress: Typological Development and Empirical Examination with a College Student Sample

Erina L. MacGeorge
Graham D. Bodie
Ginger L. B. Sietman
Brian Geddes
Jeralyn L. Faris
Wendy Samter

Document Type Article

Published in Journal of Communication and Religion, volume 30 issue 1, 2007. Bryant users may access this article here.


Despite its ubiquity and religious importance, individual prayer in times of personal distress has not received much research attention. The current study presents a conceptual analysis and typology of individual prayer behavior in times of distress, and examines the influence of denomination, religiosity, and perceptions of God on these types of prayer. College student participants (N = 596) completed measures of religiosity (belief in God, church attendance, and intrinsic religiosity), perceptions of God (lovingness and controllingness), and denomination, along with the Individual Prayer about Problems Inventory (IPPI), which was developed for this study. Results indicate that some types of individual prayer about problems are more widely utilized (e.g., asking for coping assistance, disclosing about the problem) than are others (asking for enlightenment, bargaining) and that denomination, religiosity, and the perceived lovingness of God influence how people approach God in times of personal difficulty.