A collection of statistics and illustrations on the prevalence and efficacy of prayer in the United States.
Barna research says slightly more than four out of five adults in the U.S. (84%) claim they had prayed in the past week. That has been the case since Barna began tracking the frequency of prayer in 1993.
A group of physicians used in double-blind “drug” studies of the efficacy of Christian prayer on healing. Patients from the San Francisco General Medical Center were randomly divided into placebo and test groups. Patients in the test group were prayed for by Christians; the placebo group received no prayer. There were no statistical differences between the placebo and the prayer groups before prayer was initiated. The results demonstrated that patients who were prayed for suffered “less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated.” (Rich Deem, GodandScience.org)
U.S. News and the Internet site Beliefnet funded a poll to learn more about why, how, where and when people pray. Here is a summary of the findings:
· 75% percent were Christian.
· 64% say they pray more than once a day.
· 56% say they most often pray for family members, with 3.3% saying that they pray for strangers.
· A little over 38% say that the most important purpose of prayer is intimacy with God.
· 41% say that their prayers are answered often.
· 1.5% say that their prayers are never answered.
· Over 73% say when their prayers are not answered, the most important reason is because they did not fit God’s plan.
· 5% say that they pray most often in a house of worship.
· 79% say that they pray most often at home.
· 67% say that in the past six months, their prayers have related to continually giving thanks to God. (Pastor’s Weekly Briefing, 12/24/04)
An Ellis Research survey for Facts & Trends finds just 16% of pastors are very satisfied with thier personal prayer lives, 47% are somewhat satisfied, 30% somewhat dissatisfied and 7% very dissatisfied. Their median amount of prayer time per day is 30 minutes. During that time, a typical pastor spends 12 minutes with prayer requests, 8 in quiet time, 7 giving thanks, 7 more in praise, and 5 confessing sin. The top 5 things they pray for are individual congregation member’s needs, congregation’s spiritual health, wisdom in leading church, spiritual growth for church, and personal spirtual growth. (Facts & Trends 5/6/05)
A Newsweek poll titled “Is God Listening?” indicated that, of those who pray, 87% believed that God answers their prayers at least some of the time. Even so, unanswered prayers did not deter them from praying. 85% insisted that they could accept God’s failure to grant their prayers. Only 13% declared they have lost faith because their prayers went unanswered. 82% don’t turn away from God even when their prayers go unanswered. 54% say that when God doesn’t answer their prayers, it means it wasn’t God’s will to answer.
The things people pray for include health, safety, jobs, and even success, valid or not. 82% said they ask for health or success for a child or family member when they pray. 82% believed that God does not play favorites in answering prayers. 79% said God answers prayer for healing someone with an incurable disease. 75% asked for strength to overcome personal weakness. 73% answered that prayers for help in finding a job are answered. On the lighter side, 51% agreed that God doesn’t answer prayers to win sporting events. 36% have never prayed for financial or career success.
49% of teens say they would be likely to attend prayer meetings before or after school. (Foster Letter, 6/04)
The Bible contains 377 references to praise and 375 references to prayer.
20% of Americans 45 or older who are somewhat religious cite prayer as their most satisfying spiritual or religious experience. (Foster Letter, 2/05)
A Gallup poll finds 76% of Americans favor “a constitutional amendment to allow voluntary prayer in public schools,” while just 23% oppose such an amendment. Only 23% of Americans prefer some type of spoken prayer, while 69% favor a moment of silence for contemplation or silent prayer. These views are essentially the same as those expressed a decade before in a similar poll.