Seminar 3

The psychology and neuroscience of prayer

Revd Canon Dr Joanna Collicutt, Karl Jaspers Lecturer Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Ripon College, Oxford. Click here for brief biography and abstract.


Andrew Pratt was inspired by the seminar to write two hymns, Communion with our God in prayer and Minds matter when we come to pray (Which can be accessed by clicking on the hyper-linked titles).

Workshop 1: Recording

The questions Joanna is asked in this interview were those selected after a discussion at two workshops by those who had just listened to her keynote talk (interview by Philip Berry, our Minister).

Workshop 2: Reflecting

Two groups reflected on what Joanna had said. Her talk divided into two clear halves and thus two series of questions were prepared to guide further discussion in a house group (or other small group)

How does prayer affect us. The first half of Joanna’s talk outlined how prayer is regarded in secular sociology where the focus is on the affect that prayer might have on the person who is praying. The series of questions available at this link is written to help Christians explore the implications of such an approach.

Mysticism and Prayer. In the second half Joanna focussed on mystical experiences and what science has discovered about the physiological mechanisms associated with such experiences. The series of questions available at this link is written to explore this.

Workshop 3: Responding

A selection of prayers written in response to the keynote talk available at this link.

Workshop 4: Resourcing

Links to relevant hymns, Bible passages, internet resources and books – not yet active