It began when BYU researcher Joe Chelladurai asked a question: How does prayer make a difference in families? After extensive research, here's what he and his colleagues found:
In a recently published study in the Journal of Family Psychology, BYU researchers looked at Chelladurai’s question — how family prayer influences family relationships. What Chelladurai and his colleagues found is that the familiar phrase, “The family that prays together stays together” is more than just a saying.
And now there's research to back it up.
“There hasn’t been much research that actually looks carefully at what does happen with families that pray together,” said David C. Dollahite, professor at Brigham Young University and one of the authors of the paper. “If it is true that ‘the family that prays together stays together’ — why? And what is it about prayer that affects relationships that helps families be closer and have greater unity?”
Researchers studied 476 participants from 198 religious families — Christian, Jewish and Muslim — living in 17 different states across the country and asked questions like:
- “Which faith practices hold special meaning to you as a family?”
- “How do you share your faith with your children?”
- “How does your family overcome stresses and problems?”