Praying for Paisley – Fr Gerry Reynolds and the role of prayer in faith-based peacebuilding: a preliminary theoretical framework

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Abstract

This article proposes a preliminary theoretical framework for understanding the role of prayer in faith-based peacebuilding. The framework draws on research on the life of a Redemptorist priest, Fr Gerry Reynolds (1935–2015), who was based in Belfast’s Clonard Monastery (1983–2015) during the Troubles; and recent interdisciplinary scholarship on prayer, utilising Woodhead’s [(2015). Conclusion: Prayer as changing the subject. In G. Giordan, & L. Woodhead (Eds.), A sociology of prayer (pp. 213–230). Farnham: Ashgate] re-definition of prayer as ‘changing the subject’. The framework encompasses two individual effects of prayer: (1) prompting religious identity change, and (2) sustaining hope and activism during adversity; with one additional socio-political effect: (3) creating and sustaining real-world initiatives. It argues that scholars have not yet grasped how prayer functions as a resource for faith-based peacebuilders. It advocates including prayer as a variable in future research on faith-based peacebuilding, which may confirm, challenge or alter the preliminary framework.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalIrish Political Studies
Early online date30 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • religion
  • peacebuilding
  • prayer
  • Rev Ian Paisley
  • Fr Gerry Reynolds
  • Northern Ireland
  • conflict
  • Identity

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