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October 2021

Poverty and prayer: Spiritual narratives of elderly African-American women

Journal/Book: Rev Relig Res. 1999; 40: 108 Marist Hall, Catholic Univ America, Washington, DC 20064, USA. Religious Research Assoc Inc. 359-374.

Abstract: Fifty elderly African-American women living in poverty were interviewed for a research project entitled, ''Chronic Poverty and the Self in Later Life.'' Using four illustrative case studies from the 50 respondents, this paper explores the women's faith in God as a method of coping with hardship and enhancing self-esteem. The following two themes emerged in the women's narratives: 1) reciprocity and 2) familiarity with God. That is, the women believe they enjoy a partnership with God in which God responds to their faith with porocal blessings, both in this life and the next. The conversation and petitionary nature of the women's prayers demonstrate their familiarity with God. God is regarded as a personal friend who knows each woman intimately and cares for her particularly. In the women's narratives, reciprocity and familiarity with God effect a releases from despair because they believe that their hardship is part of a divine plan that will eventuate in rewards both in this life and the next.

Note: Article Black HK, Philadelphia Geriatr Ctr, Philadelphia,PA 19141 USA

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