Question | If praying for other people improves your chances of survival with a long-term illness, but only if you pray for people you know, how do community ties influence spiritual coping?

A new study from the Journal of Religion and Health found that people with HIV who prayed for other people that they knew were twice as likely to survive over 17 years compared to those who did not pray for people they knew. They also asked their 107 participants if they prayed for themselves or people they did not know, but only praying for known others predicted greater survival (Ironson and Ahmad, 2022). They did not study whether people had community ties. In addition to whether these results would emerge in a sample of people with other long-term conditions, I am most curious about the difference that community ties make in prayer practices. Perhaps, those who prayed often for other people that they knew felt close to other people, and also had community support that made a difference in their survival. What is the relationship between prayer and community ties among people in terms of how religious/spiritual practices influence coping with a chronic illness?

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