Published On: Thu, Feb 12th, 2015

AARP examines new pew survey on prayer, why is there disappointment

In the February/March issue of AARP The Magazine, an article discusses recent Pew stats that highlight interesting tidbits about the praying habits of everyday Americans. Highlights include:

  • Praying Habits Increase As We Age: 48% of Americans ages 18 through 29 pray every day compared to 61% of Americans aged 50 to 59 and 70% who are aged 70+.
  • The Act of Praying is not Synonymous with Religious Affiliation: Among faith groups, 86% of Protestants say they pray every week, followed by 82% of Muslims, 79% of Catholics and 44% of Jews. Of those unaffiliated with any religion, 65% pray weekly.
  • Americans Believe Their Prayers Are Being Heard: Among people 50 or older who pray, one-quarter report having received a specific answer to prayer in the past week while another 35% say they received several such answers in the past year. In contrast, about 9% say they’ve never received an answer to prayer, pretty close to the 6% who report that they never pray at all.
Praying Hands (Betende Hände) by Albrecht Dürer

Praying Hands (Betende Hände) by Albrecht Dürer

Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford University professor who has studied prayer internationally, suggests that the disappointment almost everyone encounters sooner or later from prayer is actually an essential part of the prayer experience.

“In fact,” she says, “prayer may be more comforting when it is not answered, because, for many, prayer is about the relationship with God, not about the goodies. Christians sometimes say, ‘Not getting what you need materially can lead you to understand that God wants you to depend on him more deeply.’

Then again, Christians often say that God actually does answer all our prayers. He just doesn’t give us the answer we want.” But, as Luhrmann explains, “prayer is an action. It makes you feel like you’re doing something, even if it hasn’t yet helped.”

Check out this great article HERE

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