Department/School of the Primary Author

English, Literature, and Modern Languages


Christianity, Prayer, Pragmatics, Speech acts



Despite the lack of research in the linguistic field pertaining to Christian prayer, this study seeks to understand the pragmatic features of prayer specifically in a university context for Christian students. The results of this study show that there are three key types of speech acts that are used in prayers: directives, expressives, and assertives. These speech acts reveal the structure and content of the prayers. Alongside this finding, the participants chose to address God in unique ways which included using names of God as filler words as well as preferring one name of God over another for the initial address. Lastly, this study revealed that participants use the word “just” frequently in prayer and that, despite its many meanings, functions in the same way as a filler word. All these findings go to show the relevance prayer has to the pragmatic field and the benefits to the linguistic research community.



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