The Power of Prayer in Transforming Individuals and Marital Relationships: A Qualitative Examination of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Families


Prayer, Family, Relationships, Religion


Prayer is a widely practiced religious behavior. Research has associated prayer with various physical, psychological, and relational benefits. This study used in-depth, interview-based qualitative methods to explore how prayer may foster improvement in married individuals as well as in couples’ relationships in a richly diverse sample of 184 religious couples (N = 368 individuals). Qualitative data analyses revealed the following related themes: (a) prayer is a catalyst for change; (b) prayer facilitates humility and positivity; (c) prayer facilitates communication and understanding among couples; and (d) prayer unifies couples and helps in resolving conflict. Illustrative and supportive primary data are presented in connection with each theme. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Hatch, T. G., Marks, L. D., Bitah, E. A., Lawrence, M., Lambert, N. M., Dollahite, D. C., & Hardy, B. P. (2016). The power of prayer in transforming individuals and marital relationships: A qualitative examination of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families. Review of Religious Research, 58, 27–46.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Review of Religious Research




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Adjunct Faculty