“Fall and Die”, “Scatter by Fire”: Language of Emotion in Christian Liturgical Prayers

Ezekiel Opeyemi Olajimbiti


Prayer as a form of social interactions touches issues that affect people in every area of life. Its importance and sensitivity make people obsessed in getting their problems solved and needs met through it. Despite its importance in everybody’s life, little attempt has been made to study its language in Christian religion. Few studies have been on prayer and emotion management but without empirical evidence. None of these studies dealt with the pragmatics of emotions, using language to arouse the emotion of the laity in Christian prayer sessions. A gap this study fills.  MFM’s prayer is an aggressive and warlike. Interest was created at studying how the Church pragmatically uses language, intentionally or unintentionally, to stimulate and arouse the emotions of the laity to be aggressive, enthusiastic and gestural in warfare prayers. Linguistic theories of emotion were employed in the identification, contextualisation of emotion types. Emotion types identified are classified into positive and negative. Negative emotions identified manifest anger and fear because the language of warfare prayers is confrontational and warlike. Positive emotions of excitement and relief are aroused through positive/ prophetic declarations that ignite the exciting feelings of the laity. Warfare prayer utterances in MFM consist of emotionology and metaphorical analogies which are lexically and contextually conceptualised with the aim of capturing the religious psycho-social experiences of the people. They also help in shaping of thoughts and cognitive mapping of religious experiences. The clergy in MFM use emotion-inducing stimuli metaphorically in communicating prayer utterances which automatically or reflexively trigger bodily responses from the laity described as cognitive pragmatic behavioural gestures. This study attempts a significant contribution to existing knowledge in Cognitive Linguistics in the Nigerian context by providing insightful knowledge on language of emotions in social interactions in Nigeria.

Keywords: cognition, pragmatics, clergy, laity and MFM.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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