Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 13766

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Psychology, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
Interests: development of religiosity; development of religious feelings; religious symbol; psychology of prayer

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Guest Editor
School of Human Sciences, University of Economics and Human Science in Warsaw, 01-043 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: health psychology; clinical psychology; health and religiosity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prayer occupies a central place in the lives of Christians as it is realized through a relation towards God. Although by its nature it is a religious activity, it has important psychological, pedagogical, sociological and economic aspects, to name a few.

Christian prayer is a subjective and personal, autonomous and authentic, reflexive and transcending ability to enter into a dialogue with God. It can be characterized by: (1) nature, essence and specificity of prayer, (2) types and forms of prayer, (3) periods of prayer development, (4) factors shaping the process of prayer, and (5) functions of prayer.

Emphasizing the specificity of Christian prayer, it is necessary to consider not only its objective, denotational and purely informational meaning, but also its associative, personal-subjective and social-relational-connotational meaning.

Prayer is expressed through various types and forms. Among the most common is prayer of request, individual and communal prayer. Elements of doubt are also included in prayer dialogue.

In the course of ontogenesis, different periods of prayer development are distinguished. Although at each of them prayer takes a slightly different form, the same manifestations can occur in several adjacent or even more distant developmental periods. In addition, features of more mature religiosity may temporarily or even permanently disappear. Development of prayer does not occur abruptly, moving suddenly from one form to another, the process is gradual and smooth. It may also happen that one form of prayer persists, with the simultaneous development of new ones.

When analyzing the determinants of prayer, attention is paid to circumstances that account for its occurrence, direction and maintenance. Educational and teaching activities of Christian families, which are passed down from past generations, play a special role.

Christian prayer penetrates the structure and path of human life from within, giving it an existential meaning. It is present in various areas of human functioning, such as business, production and law, relations with others, education and development, and even takes on a self-therapeutic function. Prayer realizes and expresses greater needs, participates in the formation and maintenance of essential life goals, as well as dealing with difficult situations, through which it can become a program of Christian life. It fosters the formation of a higher quality of life situated not only towards God and oneself, but also towards one’s social environment.

Description and explanation of the process of prayer requires a viable medium. We are confident that this Special Issue will be a forum for academic discussion, gathering articles from numerous disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, pedagogy, legal sciences, economics and finance, security sciences, politics and administration.

It is hoped that theoretical and empirical discourse will allow us to broaden and deepen the knowledge around social phenomena which occur during Christian prayer.

Specifically, we invite original research papers and reviews from social science perspective to encourage thoughtful discussion on prayer and its forms, why people pray, how prayer impacts people’s lives, and how to assess prayer. Example paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Nature and manifestations of Christian prayer
  • Development of Christian prayer
  • Factors shaping Christian prayer
  • Level and extent of impact of prayer on human functioning
  • Benefits of praying
  • Prayer and coping with difficult situations
  • Prayer and health

Prof. Dr. Małgorzata Tatala
Prof. Dr. Konrad Janowski
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • specificity of prayer
  • types of prayer
  • prayer development
  • conditions for prayer
  • functions of prayer
  • prayer crisis
  • health dimension of prayer

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1452 KiB  
Article
Historical Sacral Objects as Places of Prayer—But Not Only: Towards Multifunctionality
by Janina Beata Kotlińska
Religions 2024, 15(5), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050572 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Under conditions of rises in the maintenance costs of religious objects, declining numbers of visitors to most of them, and greater public awareness of their potential, the following is becoming important: (1) the pressure to increase the ways in which their space is [...] Read more.
Under conditions of rises in the maintenance costs of religious objects, declining numbers of visitors to most of them, and greater public awareness of their potential, the following is becoming important: (1) the pressure to increase the ways in which their space is used and (2) to take advantage of the “added value” that these objects bring to the localities in which they are located. The owners of religious objects are increasing the functionality of these objects; therefore, they can expect more financial support for their maintenance, including from public resources. Local entrepreneurs undertake and develop types of economic activities that are directly or indirectly related to the existence of the designated objects in the area, and the local government, thanks to the tax revenue raised from them, improves the standard of living of the people in the area. The purpose of this article is to collect, organize, and systematize the knowledge of the functions of Christian historic religious objects and the possibility of their influence on the external environment. This study fills a research gap in this area, for the information on this topic in the literature is scattered and unstructured. The method used in this study is a critical analysis of legal acts and literature. From the analysis, it is clear that Christian religious buildings today perform multiple functions. In addition, the strength of their impact on the external environment creates the economic development of an area and results in an increase in the income level of its inhabitants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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20 pages, 13151 KiB  
Article
Public Funds as a Source of Financing Revalorization of Sacral Historical Monuments: The Example of Poland
by Janina Beata Kotlińska, Jarosław Kuśpit and Mateusz Machniak
Religions 2024, 15(5), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050567 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Sacral historical monuments are primarily places of prayer, but also objects performing numerous other functions. These are public goods, including cultural goods that build national identity. Their preservation in the right condition is important not only for the owner, but also for the [...] Read more.
Sacral historical monuments are primarily places of prayer, but also objects performing numerous other functions. These are public goods, including cultural goods that build national identity. Their preservation in the right condition is important not only for the owner, but also for the public authorities, whose duty is to preserve them for future generations. The study concerns the financing of sacral monuments in Poland. Its aim is to indicate the legitimacy of financing the revalorization of sacral monuments from public funds, the solutions applied in this area in Poland, and the sources and amount of support provided to the owners of these objects in the years 2017–2022. In it, the authors: (1) refer to such concepts as: public good, cultural good and cultural heritage, (2) define—based on Polish regulations—the concept of a sacral monument and indicate the multiplicity of functions that these objects perform, (3) present the number and types of sacral monuments in Poland, taking into account their location, (4) identify available sources of public funds for the revalorization of sacral monuments in Poland. The analyses carried out show that in Poland, every year, public funds play an important role in the revalorization of sacral historical monuments. In real terms, its volume remained at a similar level over the period considered. The methods used in the development are as follows: critical analysis of the literature and legal acts and selected methods of descriptive statistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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13 pages, 223 KiB  
Article
“Violent Times Call for Violent Prayers”: “Divine Violence” during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Nigeria
by Benson Ohihon Igboin
Religions 2024, 15(4), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040471 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Interest in studying prayer has significantly increased because of the belief that it helps humanity to cope, particularly in times of crisis. Prayer is not just a communication with God, it is also an instrument of bond and embodied ritual among prayer litigants [...] Read more.
Interest in studying prayer has significantly increased because of the belief that it helps humanity to cope, particularly in times of crisis. Prayer is not just a communication with God, it is also an instrument of bond and embodied ritual among prayer litigants or people who belong to the same religious community. This article argues that divine violence, a sovereign act of God, was crucially needed by the litigants in order to guarantee human flourishing in the face of existential threat. The article studied how violent prayer—a genre of prayer that is targeted at the spirits underlying physical manifestation of suffering, pain, or crisis—was utilised by the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFMM) in Nigeria to cope with the fear and uncertainties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is part of an ongoing ethnographic research on “The Politics and Poetics of Violent Prayer in the Nigerian Pentecostal Churches”, which began in 2021. I utilised ethnographic engagement, particularly interviews and participant observation, to attempt to understand what these prayer litigants are doing when they pray violently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
11 pages, 227 KiB  
Article
Towards Socially Responsible Consumption: Assessing the Role of Prayer in Consumption
by Katarzyna Jabłońska-Karczmarczyk
Religions 2024, 15(4), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040445 - 31 Mar 2024
Viewed by 825
Abstract
The issue of socially responsible consumer behavior has been of great interest to researchers for years. It seems important to acquire knowledge about consumer behavior, especially among young people, who are a special group of consumers. In recent years, it is not only [...] Read more.
The issue of socially responsible consumer behavior has been of great interest to researchers for years. It seems important to acquire knowledge about consumer behavior, especially among young people, who are a special group of consumers. In recent years, it is not only the purchasing power of young people that has been growing, but also the range of market choices they make. In this context, it is important to identify the determinants of consumer behavior to predict the directions of changes in the behavior of young people as consumers. One of the interesting research areas is determining the role of prayer, or more broadly, human spiritual development, in shaping consumer behavior. Some research suggests that there is a relationship between religion, or more precisely, religious practices and consumption. This work presents the most important definitions of a socially responsible consumer, presenting the most important aspects of this attitude. This work also presents previous research on the relationship between religiosity, prayer and consumer behavior. This research on the SRC attitude among young people was conducted using an online survey. The collected data were tested using the χ2 test of independence. Owing to the obtained results, it was possible to indicate the aspects of SRC in which the attitude to prayer is important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
10 pages, 819 KiB  
Article
Stability of the Roman Catholic Church Financing System Based on Germany
by Anna Mizak and Mariusz Sokołek
Religions 2024, 15(4), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040413 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 654
Abstract
To effectively carry out its tasks, the church needs a stable financial system. The aim of this article is to present issues related to ensuring the stability of the Catholic Church financing system in times of significant demographic and socio-cultural changes. This study [...] Read more.
To effectively carry out its tasks, the church needs a stable financial system. The aim of this article is to present issues related to ensuring the stability of the Catholic Church financing system in times of significant demographic and socio-cultural changes. This study identifies and characterizes the main sources of income and directions of expenses of the available financial resources. The challenges faced by church authorities in this regard are also described. State authorities finance places of prayer for social, cultural, and psychological reasons. Churches have been places of support in difficult times for centuries as well as places of survival and mental support for society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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15 pages, 665 KiB  
Article
Flourishing through Prayer by Singing in a Liturgical Choir
by Agnieszka Marek and Tomasz Lisiecki
Religions 2024, 15(3), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030335 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Prayer in human life enables directing attention to God and a transcendent goal beyond Earthly life. Singing has been present in the life of Israel since the oldest times, which is proved on the pages of the Holy Scriptures, in the Books of [...] Read more.
Prayer in human life enables directing attention to God and a transcendent goal beyond Earthly life. Singing has been present in the life of Israel since the oldest times, which is proved on the pages of the Holy Scriptures, in the Books of Exodus and Psalms. In the New Testament, there is a lot of encouragement to sing the glory of God in psalms and songs, as well as praising God Most High in Revelation. The Catholic Church is concerned with the quality of liturgical music through a number of recommendations and requirements defining the pieces that may become a part of the liturgy. Liturgical choir singing is a special form of common prayer. The aim of the present paper is to examine the effect of prayer by choral singing on human flourishing. The aim was achieved by analyzing recommendations of the Church on liturgical music, presenting the assumptions of the theoretical model investigating the effect of art on human flourishing, and then conducting empirical studies. Sixteen in-depth interviews were carried out with members of fourteen choirs. There were four groups of respondents according to their gender and family status. All obtained codes were organized into five main themes with four subcategories. They confirmed the assumptions of the model presented in the theoretical part and made it possible to identify the effect of choral singing on the performers’ health and the improvement of their skills. In addition, they showed a direct relation between prayer and spiritual well-being when singing in a choir, a coherence of activities with values as well as the striving for happiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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13 pages, 252 KiB  
Article
Artificial Intelligence as a Tool Supporting Prayer Practices
by Małgorzata Gruchoła, Małgorzata Sławek-Czochra and Robert Zieliński
Religions 2024, 15(3), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030271 - 22 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1186
Abstract
This article attempts to describe Poles’ attitudes towards AI in the development of Christian prayer as a technology supporting prayer practices. Four research questions were formulated: 1. Do the frequency of prayer and engagement in religious practices influence the attitudes of Poles towards [...] Read more.
This article attempts to describe Poles’ attitudes towards AI in the development of Christian prayer as a technology supporting prayer practices. Four research questions were formulated: 1. Do the frequency of prayer and engagement in religious practices influence the attitudes of Poles towards prayer programs/applications based on AI technology? 2. Does believers’ age affect Poles’ attitudes towards prayer programs/applications based on AI? 3. Does believers’ place of residence affect the attitude of Poles towards AI-based prayer programs/applications? 4. Do current users of the prayer-supporting applications plan to continue using it, and are new believers considering using it in the future? Research hypotheses were adopted to verify the research problem, with the first, second, and third being positively verified. H1: The higher the level of prayer frequency and engagement in religious practices of respondents, the more conservative the attitude towards prayer programs/applications based on AI; H2: The age of respondents differentiates the attitudes of Poles towards prayer programs/applications. H3: The respondents’ place of residence differentiates Poles’ attitudes towards prayer programs/applications. H4: Most AI users plan to continue such usage in the future, while new practitioners will appear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
11 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
Prayer Motifs and National Consciousness in Changing Conditions of Reception: As Exemplified by the Works of Ivan Shmelev and Boris Zaitsev
by Monika Sidor
Religions 2024, 15(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030267 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 620
Abstract
This article presents the role of selected motifs of prayer depicted in the works of first-wave Russian emigrants in the creation of a certain type of national mythology. The starting point of the considerations is a reflection on the status of emigrant literature [...] Read more.
This article presents the role of selected motifs of prayer depicted in the works of first-wave Russian emigrants in the creation of a certain type of national mythology. The starting point of the considerations is a reflection on the status of emigrant literature at the time of its creation, during the period of political changes in the Soviet bloc, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and today. From the beginning, émigré literature has served as a certain treasury of images and symbols, which are treated as necessary elements for maintaining the national identity of emigrants. The article presents selected motifs from the works of Ivan Shmelev’s The Year of the Lord and Pilgrimage, and Boris Zaitsev’s Saint Sergius of Radonezh, showing prayer as an element of ritual, as a collective request, and as an act of deep contact with God. The analysis of the selected examples shows that regardless of the literary form, narrative perspective, or the way the subject was presented, the writers showed prayer motifs in a patriotic context, while mythologizing pre-revolutionary Russia and bringing the idea of “Holy Rus” to life. In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been an increased interest in emigrant literature, and the ideas contained therein have proven to be very important for the formation of the new national consciousness of Russians. Today, due to another political change in Russia and its political isolation, émigré literature is of renewed importance in Russian circles. The writers whose works are discussed in this study are regarded as the main Orthodox writers of the twentieth century, and the image of praying Russia is again the basis for building a new national identity. The study concludes with the observation that the value of emigrant literature should be studied in the context of the time of its creation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
27 pages, 617 KiB  
Article
The Entrepreneur’s Prayer and the Scholastic Inspirations of Free-Market Economics
by Jacek Bednarz and Zdzisław Adam Błasiak
Religions 2024, 15(3), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030251 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1033
Abstract
The paper explores the historical and philosophical roots of economic thought, drawing connections between the entrepreneurial mindset and the scholastic traditions that have shaped the conceptual landscape of free markets. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the paper examines how religious and scholastic influences have [...] Read more.
The paper explores the historical and philosophical roots of economic thought, drawing connections between the entrepreneurial mindset and the scholastic traditions that have shaped the conceptual landscape of free markets. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the paper examines how religious and scholastic influences have contributed to the development of economic ideas, providing a nuanced understanding of the ethical dimensions inherent in entrepreneurial endeavors. By unraveling the threads that connect entrepreneurship, prayer, and scholasticism, this paper also seeks to illuminate the symbiotic relationship between faith, intellectual heritage, and the principles that underpin free-market economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
16 pages, 1765 KiB  
Article
Religiousness in the Light of Kazimierz Twardowski’s Concept of Actions and Products
by Henryk Jarosiewicz and Jagoda Stompór-Świderska
Religions 2024, 15(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020186 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
The aim of the present article is to approach religiousness and prayer with the aid of the conceptual apparatus of K. Twardowski’s concept of actions and products. Both actions and their products are psychic phenomena, so the idea is to present the psychological [...] Read more.
The aim of the present article is to approach religiousness and prayer with the aid of the conceptual apparatus of K. Twardowski’s concept of actions and products. Both actions and their products are psychic phenomena, so the idea is to present the psychological mechanism of the formation of religiousness as a product of a person’s actions. This requires a description of the phenomena that are the object of morality, as well as of religion, which is a special aspect of morality. In order to make this description clear, a psychological model of the personal subject will be outlined to explain not only the essence of morality, i.e., how man becomes good, but also how he comes to partake in eternal life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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12 pages, 1569 KiB  
Article
Measurement Invariance of Prayer Importance Scale: Religiosity, Gender, Age
by Małgorzata Tatala and Marcin Wojtasiński
Religions 2023, 14(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020215 - 5 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2486
Abstract
The main goal of the research was to increase knowledge on the psychometric properties of the Prayer Importance Scale (PIS). The study analyzed the structure of test items using item response theory (IRT), Mokken scale analysis (MSA), and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to [...] Read more.
The main goal of the research was to increase knowledge on the psychometric properties of the Prayer Importance Scale (PIS). The study analyzed the structure of test items using item response theory (IRT), Mokken scale analysis (MSA), and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to establish factorial structure of the method. Measurement invariance (MI) was calculated in groups differentiated by three criteria: religiosity, gender, and age. MI verifies whether test items measure the construct in the same way across different groups. The Structure and Level of Religiosity Test (SLRT) was used to examine the level of religiosity in participants. In a study conducted with a sample of n = 566 adults (Mage = 49.16 years; SDage = 15.72), two religious groups were identified based on a median distribution: with low (n = 275) and high (n = 291) levels of religiosity. Two groups differentiated by gender, men (n = 284) and women (n = 282), were equivalent per age period: early (age 25–39; n = 192), middle (age 40–59; n = 187), and late adulthood (age 60+; n = 187). Results of the analyses show high homogeneity of items comprising PIS, as well as strict invariance for the three distinguished criteria. Results of the study provide extended knowledge about psychometric properties of PIS and the ability to compare results due to religiosity, gender, and age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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Review

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12 pages, 257 KiB  
Review
Cooperation of the Commune and Parish in Poland in XXI Century as the Implementation of Community Activities
by Dorota Tokarska
Religions 2024, 15(4), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040429 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The commune and the parish are units of two divisions: government and church administration. Both were created for the better functioning of structures and the implementation of central activities: government and the mission of the Church. Their functioning is based on meeting the [...] Read more.
The commune and the parish are units of two divisions: government and church administration. Both were created for the better functioning of structures and the implementation of central activities: government and the mission of the Church. Their functioning is based on meeting the needs of the local community. In turn, their goals, although seemingly divergent, often overlap, because the main mission of both types of units is the good of community members. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to address in this article the issue of methods of cooperation at the lowest level between local government authorities and parish priests operating in the commune. This article presents a theoretical introduction, analyzing the ways in which both spheres operate, with an emphasis on places of cooperation in order to create a unified community, which is defined as both a commune and a parish. The aim of this article is to outline a framework for future empirical research that could clearly indicate the factors shaping the methods and forms of cooperation between these two entities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
10 pages, 277 KiB  
Review
The Common Good According to Great Men of Prayer and Economists: Comparisons, Connections, and Inspirations for Economics
by Anna Horodecka and Andrzej J. Żuk
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121544 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
This paper aims to present and compare contemporary concepts of the common good formulated by economists with reference to the understanding of the common good by the great men of prayer: Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; Jacques Maritain; and Popes John XXIII, John [...] Read more.
This paper aims to present and compare contemporary concepts of the common good formulated by economists with reference to the understanding of the common good by the great men of prayer: Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; Jacques Maritain; and Popes John XXIII, John Paul II, and Francis. It seeks to determine in what direction the economic theory of the common good can develop, taking into account inspiration drawn from Catholic social teaching (CST). Given the interdisciplinary nature of the common good, a historical and interdisciplinary approach, along with the descriptive method, was adopted. The paper highlights the tendency of economic theory toward one-dimensional and relativistic concepts of the common good and suggests a search for economic ideas of the common good that are simultaneously multidimensional and universalistic. It recognizes the achievements of CST, created by the great men of prayer, in enhancing the understanding of the category of the common good and posits that these teachings can serve as research inspiration for economists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
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