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Study: Prayer Helps Women's Negative Emotions

New research by a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that women in abusive relationships gained relief from their emotional anguish through prayer. The Christian Post reported on the study, which showed that prayer gave these women a place to share and vent their feelings without worrying about an angry response. Graduate student Shane Sharp, lead researcher, said interviewees “perceived God as a loving parental or friendly figure who was nonjudgmental and forgiving,” which “helped raise their senses of self-worth that counteracted the abusers’ hurtful words.” Other results showed prayer provided a distracting activity from an abusive situation–some participants would even pray “silently” to counteract the hurtful words of their spouse or partner. Sharp explained that the impact of prayer on these women only occurred because they believed God was real and prayer “has consequences for them emotionally and for their behavior.” If they didn’t believe this, he added, it wouldn’t have the same effect because it wouldn’t be seen as a legitimate social interaction.