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A vast amount of research examining forgiveness has now been reported, as has a sizable amount of research on prayer, but these two constructs have rarely been examined together. This experimental intervention study investigated potential benefits of prayer among Christians seeking to forgive an interpersonal offense. Participants consisted of 411 undergraduate students from private Christian colleges across the United States, randomly assigned to a prayer group, a devotional attention group, or a no-contact control group. The prayer group participated in a 16-day devotional reading and prayer intervention focused on forgiveness, whereas those in the devotional attention group meditated on devotional readings not related to forgiveness. Those in the prayer and devotional attention groups showed significant changes in state forgiveness. Also, participants in the prayer intervention group showed significant changes in empathy toward their offender. Implications are considered.


Originally published in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, volume 5, issue 1, pages 23-32.

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