family ritual, family prayer, relational processes, qualitative research, parenting, religion


In the present article we explore how family prayer reportedly influenced family relationships. We conceptualized family prayer as a family ritual in religious families and used a qualitative methodology to interview a religiously, ethnically, and geographically diverse sample of 198 families (N = 476). Analysis of data revealed 7 related themes. Family prayer served important functions and influenced relationships in various ways including (a) as time of family togetherness and interaction; (b) as a space for social support; and (c) as a means for intergenerational transmission of religion. Further, family prayer (d) involved issues and concerns of individuals and the family; (e) helped reduce relational tensions; (f) provided feelings of connectedness, unity and bonding. Finally, (g) families struggled to pray together when there was disunity. Implication, applications, and future directions are addressed.

Original Publication Citation

*Chelladurai, J. M., Dollahite, D. C., & Marks, L. D. (2018). “The family that prays together”: Relational processes associated with family prayer. Journal of Family Psychology, 32, 849-859.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Family Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor