Study Shows That Prayer Can Help Relieve Emotional Pain


Study shows that prayer can help relieve emotional painMillions of Americans who experience difficult emotions, such as sadness, fear and anger, often try to find a prescription medication or a doctor's diagnosis to alleviate their pain.

However, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that people who frequently pray find comfort from their emotional troubles. In his study, Shane Sharp interviewed dozens of victims of violent relationships who represented a wide range of the United States' population in educational, racial and geographic backgrounds.

Sharp discovered that individuals who were sad or angry benefited from prayer, in which they spoke to a source who they believed to be God. The study, which appears in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, concluded that prayer helped many of the victims cope with their feelings in a positive manner.

"If they vented their anger to that abusive partner, the result was likely to be more violence," said Sharp. "But they could be angry at God while praying without fear of reprisal."

Sharp also found that praying served as a helpful distraction for many people. By folding their hands and concentrating on what to say to God, they were able to take a reprieve from their anxiety. He said that prayer is similar to an intimate conversation with a close friend or parent. 

Personal Liberty

Special To Personal Liberty

You Sound Off! is written by our readers and appears the last Wednesday of each month. If you would like to submit an article or letter to the editor for consideration for You Sound Off!, send it to by the Friday before the last Wednesday of the month. To be considered, a submission should be 750 words or less and must include the writer's name, address and a telephone number. Only the writer's name will be published. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.