Most Brits believe in the power of prayer

Published 26 March 2013  |  
Christian Today

Britain's churches may be struggling to make converts but a new survey in the run-up to Easter has found no shortage of people believing in prayer.

The new ICM survey offers revealing insights into the issues that are on the hearts of British people and which age groups are praying more than others.

It found that four in five British adults still believe in the power of prayer.

When asked what they would pray for, nearly a third (31%) said world peace, followed by an end to poverty (27%).

One in five (22%) said they would pray for healing for another person, while 5% said they did not know what they would pray for. Fourteen per cent said they would never pray.

Other subjects for prayer cited in the survey were:

my partner (17%)
less stress in my life (16%)
a prayer of thankfulness (16%)
prosperity (16%)
healing for myself (15%)
guidance (15%)
a friend (13%)
marriage or relationship (12%)
forgiveness (10%)
work (9%)
my spiritual life (8%)
my church (4%)
my studies (3%)
something else (6%)

Not surprisingly, the over-65s made up the largest proportion of people praying (89%).

This was followed by young people between the ages of 18 and 24 (85%). Less likely to pray were those between the ages of 35 and 40 (75%).

The survey was commissioned by the Church of England and asked the views of more than 2,000 people in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Right Reverend Dr Alan Smith, said he had seen an increase in the number of people asking about prayer in light of the difficult economic climate.

"Prayer is one of the most natural and instinctive of human responses, so I am not surprised to see these findings," he said.

"I come across people on an almost daily basis who want to talk about prayer and how to do it. This has been even more evident recently, as many people are facing uncertainty about jobs and finance.

"However, there has also been a desire to pray for trouble spots in the world, not least when we see the appalling photos from Syria on the television."

The Church of England is inviting members of the public to post their prayer requests on its website http://www.prayoneforme.org and its accompanying Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/prayoneforme

Both pages include guidance on how to pray and information on the people who hold the contributions before God in prayer.

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