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Study Reveals Most Common Content of Prayers is Gratitude and Thanksgiving

  • Amanda Casanova
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 Aug 17
  • Comments

A study by Barna released this week found that most Americans pray silently and by themselves.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults found that 82 percent of respondents prayed silently and alone. Thirteen percent said they prayed audibly and alone. Two percent said they prayed "collectively with a church" or "audibly with another person or group."

“The numbers have barely changed from year to year. Which made us wonder: what do people mean by prayer? What do these prayers actually look like? And who are they praying to?” said Barna's editor in chief, Roxanne Stone.

The study also looked at what people are mostly praying about.  The most common prayer recorded is of “gratitude and thanksgiving” with 62 percent of people saying that’s what they prayed about. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they pray for personal guidance in crisis.

Praying for others amounted to 34 percent of prayers. Prayers about the government earned 24 percent, and prayers for global injustice totaled 20 percent of prayers. Prayers that included reciting Scripture or reading liturgies accounted for 8 percent of prayers.

Politically, liberals are more likely to pray for global injustices than conservatives, according to the survey. However, conservatives are more likely to pray for the nation or government than liberals.

“Prayer is by far the most common spiritual practice among Americans,” Stone said. “The vast majority of Americans—no matter their religious affiliation or non-affiliation—participate in some kind of prayer activity.”


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Publication date: August 17, 2017