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How people pray today

National Public Radio in America has been broadcasting a series of programs in the past week looking at the nature of prayer -- how people pray and how often. The series was also broadcast across Australia on the ABC's NewsRadio network. Well worth listening to. You can still tune in and hear the programs on the web.

Each segment is of about 10 minutes duration and looks at different aspects of prayer. The following is a summary of each segment followed by an explanation of how you can tune in via the web at your own convenience:

In the first program broadcast on 24 December 2002 on the All Things Considered program, independent producer Alix Spiegel explores how Americans of various faiths pray to God. How often do they pray? How do they visualize the God they pray to? And what rewards do they expect to receive from their prayers.

Robert Siegel
The second program, broadcast on Christmas Day explored the practice called "spiritual mapping." NPR's Robert Siegel went to the town of Beverly, N.J., to explore this new religious phenomenon.

The third broadcast on 26th December 2002 was broken into two segments and explored the power of prayer in healing. In the first segment Robert Siegel looks at an old Jewish prayer that's undergoing a bit of a revival. It's called the Mi Shebeirach, the Prayer of Healing. Robert speaks with people from a Maryland congregation about why they say the prayer, and what effect they hope it will have. In the second segment Robert Siegel explores the question "Does prayer work?" in healing sick people. He's joined by three researchers on the topic. While some researchers claim studies prove that people who pray fare better healthwise than those who don't pray, others say that conclusion isn't backed by real data.

In the fourth and final part of the series, Barbra Bradley-Haggerty reports on the people who turn a profit on prayer and those who are concerned that such an intimate spiritual communication is being made too commercial.

The series provides insights into the ways in which people pray in many religions including in the Catholic Church. Probably the easiest way to guide you to finding the broadcasts is to go to the link which provides a calendar for all the broadcasts in December. Clicking on each day will bring up a list of all discussions held that day and you need to scroll down and find the segment(s) on prayer for that day. You need the Real Player plug-in to listen.


30 Dec 2002