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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prayer moves across a continuum between formal religious traditions to non-religious practices. By whom and when prayer occurs can be difficult to anticipate.
- 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.
- Prayer spurs from the presence of the arts and nature in healthcare settings.
- Prayer finds its way more easily into seemingly secular spaces of healthcare through organizational mission statements that make way for equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Prayer takes various forms in clinical settings such as Critical Care, Mental Health, Long- term Care, Street Clinics and Palliative Care.
- 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.
- 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.