The impact of personal prayer on spiritual maturity among selected Christian Missionary Alliance pastors
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The study seeks to identify relationships between the types, amounts, and frequency of selected types of prayer and the spiritual maturity of pastors. Data was based on a survey of 104 official workers of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an evangelical denomination. Survey data included basic demographics, quality, quantity, frequency, and impact of personal prayer based on a survey developed by Poloma and Gallup. It also surveyed spiritual maturity as measured by the Spiritual Assessment Index. The study was quantitative descriptive research using questionnaires to examine the self-reports of evangelical pastors concerning their prayer practices and spiritual maturity. Multiple displays show the data on spiritual maturity and quantity, quality, types, and combinations of types of prayer. It found that frequency of daily prayer had little correlation with spiritual maturity, though none of those spending less than thirty minutes in daily personal prayer reported the highest levels of personal impact (a sense of interaction with God leading to insight, deep peace, awareness of God's presence, a definite answer, or direction to act) in their prayer lives while nearly one third of those spending over thirty did. The quality or personal impact of prayer on the life of the individual strongly correlated with both the age and the years of experience of the sample population. Those with longer tenures had more vibrant prayer experiences. The highest correlation in the study was found between those who persevered in ministry and those who encountered God in prayer via the experience of a deep peace, insight, and direction to act. No single type of prayer led to higher levels of either prayer impact or spiritual maturity, but the role of meditative prayer was significant. Spiritual maturity was highest among those whose prayer included meditative prayer as a priority and in conjunction with other types.