There are moments in life when some believers are just so angry that the only person they feel safe talking to is God. And that may be a healthy response, new research suggests. A study exploring how prayer is used to cope with hostility found that talking to God appeared particularly effective when dealing with intense, lasting anger involving family members.
When a sense of anger seems overpowering, “prayer may be an effective, safe, and easily accessible way for adults to manage these negative emotions,” researchers from Northern Illinois University and Boston University reported in the Review of Religious Research.
Researchers in the Northern Illinois and Bosnia studies encouraged physicians and pastoral and secular counselors to be sensitive to religious and spiritual issues such as the role of prayer that may need to be addressed to promote healing.
And while scriptural authors may not have anticipated the often ill-considered, hateful and divisive nature of much of the commentary on social media today, research on the value of talking to God first during times of rage may also give new relevance to the advice in the well-known biblical proverb:
“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”