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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Peter Ward

Campbell, Heidi, Lynch, Gordon & Ward, Pete (2009). 'Can You Hear the Army?' Exploring Evangelical Discourse in Scottish Prayer Meetings. Journal of Contemporary Religion 24(2): 217-234.

Author(s) from Durham


This article explores how public prayer events can serve as a space for evangelical youth to perform and construct a public discourse related to their personal and corporate faith. Claims are based on a detailed content analysis of 14 youth-led prayer meetings held across Scotland over a two-year period. This study uncovers some dominant themes related to how evangelical youth create and present their religious identity in order to create community ownership in certain beliefs and understandings. Analysing transcripts from the meetings demonstrates that public prayer is not just an act of devotion, but a tool for evangelical identity construction. It is argued that the prayer meetings function as cultural spaces in which young people negotiate the challenges of maintaining a sense of connection to a longer tradition of theological discourses, while also making innovative use of these discourses to construct meaning and identity in relation to their social and geographical context.