The ritual of prayer: A spiritual occupation
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Occupation is everything people do to occupy themselves, including self-care activities, work, leisure and play. This line of research explored the ritual of prayer as a meaningful spiritual occupation. The overall purpose of this dissertation was to explore the occupation of daily prayer, and to bring to the attention of occupational therapists the importance of spiritual occupations in the lives of their clients. This dissertation includes six chapters. Chapter One introduces the problem, aims, and significance of this line of research. Chapter Two is a literature review of the occupation of prayer and spirituality, associated issues and effects on health and wellbeing of the individual. Chapter Three explores the meaning, value, and occupational performance of prayer to ordinary individuals who regularly perform this occupation. Chapter Four investigates the meaning, value, and occupational performance of prayer from the perspective of individuals with physical disabilities. Also, it examines the adaptation process that they experienced in their attempt to perform the occupation of prayer. Chapter Five pilots the utility of a newly created prayer assessment tool to examine physical, cognitive, and affective skills and level of community participation. Chapter Six summarizes the findings of this line of research, limitations, and implications for occupational therapy. The significant finding of this line of research was that it illustrated the significant meaning and value of the occupation of prayer to participants with and without physical disabilities. The studies revealed the occupational performance skills, contexts, and patterns inherent to optimal engagement in the occupation of prayer. In addition, it illustrated the adaptation process that individuals with physical disabilities experience in their attempt to perform the occupation of prayer. Such a process could be therapeutically utilized by occupational therapy practitioners to maximize the participation in prayer rituals and other spiritual occupations among individuals who identify themselves with previous religious roles. The Occupational Measure of Prayer (OMP), although a promising new tool, is still in the first stages of tool development and needs further refinement with the establishment of appropriate psychometric properties.