Announcing Project Report

We are excited to announce the launch of our Project Report!  The Report is entitled When Prayer Shows Up:  The Social Relations of Prayer in Healthcare.  Please find it here: REPORT.

This Report is intended to inform the practices and policies of healthcare professionals, spiritual care practitioners, administrators, policy-makers, educators, and other stakeholders.

Ten key findings of this study:

  1. Prayer shows up in healthcare contexts even amidst settings such as hospitals that are typified by high acuity, technology and managerialism. These high-paced environments can in turn result in prayer becoming invisible or less of a priority.
  2. Prayer is somehow special or set apart, and transcends or goes beyond a moment or circumstances. Although prayer takes various forms, prayer is distinctive from other spiritual and non-spiritual practices. Prayer is communing with God or a Higher Power, but prayer also transcends present circumstances through a sense of the mystical, an experience of deep understanding, or profound relational connection.
  3. Generic approaches to spirituality, with their intent to be inclusive, can miss the specificity of people’s spiritual and religious preferences. Similarly, multi-faith approaches can lead to assumptions about religious identities and leave unattended those who are spiritual but not religious or the non- religious. Both approaches can miss the array of differences present in today’s diverse societies.
  4. Prayer moves across a continuum between formal religious traditions to non-religious practices. By whom and when prayer occurs can be difficult to anticipate.
  5. Prayer is present through material objects in healthcare settings, from crosses, Humanist pamphlets, and Indigenous artifacts to a nurse’s apron substituted for an Islamic head covering. Symbols of majoritarian religions are in some situations given preference, especially when communicating the heritage or administration of an institution.
  6. Prayer spurs from the presence of the arts and nature in healthcare settings.
  7. Prayer finds its way more easily into seemingly secular spaces of healthcare through organizational mission statements that make way for equity, diversity and inclusion.
  8. Prayer takes various forms in clinical settings such as Critical Care, Mental Health, Long- term Care, Street Clinics and Palliative Care.
  9. Prayer is personal, reflecting the current needs of many who confront health and illness. Prayer is also political, addressing issues such as employment, education, housing and citizenship.
  10. Prayer contributes towards deep equality, bringing people together amid crises and differences. A commitment to deep equality also creates space for the absence of prayer, where it may not be meaningful, relevant, or practised.

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