By Ida Smith-Williams
A nightly ritual in our house is saying a bedtime prayer with my young daughter. It’s been a learning experience for both of us! Her list of who and what she wants to pray for gets longer and longer each night. I think sometimes she gets God and Santa Claus confused! We’ve removed inanimate objects from the prayer list (such as her stuffed animals), so we’re making progress. I do think she is learning compassion as she prays for family members, friends, and teachers.
How often do worshipers pray? Nearly seven out of ten worshipers spend time praying on their own on a daily basis (68%). This has stayed steady since 2001.
What do worshipers pray for? Like my daughter, three-quarters of worshipers pray daily for themselves or their family members (74%). Fewer than three in ten (29%) of worshipers prayed daily for world peace or an end to war, and one-quarter (26%) pray daily for an end to world hunger or poverty.
Do national and international events influence prayer? When asked if they prayed more often than previously because of national or world events in the previous five years, three-quarters of worshipers said they did to some extent (75%). Few (17%) increased their prayer a great deal.
Do prayers make a difference? Three out of five worshipers think prayers make a difference regardless of events (62%). When asked “because of national or world events in the past five years, to what extent have you doubted whether your prayers made a difference?” only one in ten had much doubt about the effectiveness of their prayers (9%).