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Survey reveals who spends more time alone with God: Men or women?

Orthodox Presbyterian Church
People bow their heads in prayer during a Sunday evening service at Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, on January 17, 2016. |

Female Protestant churchgoers are more likely than men to spend time alone with God, according to a new survey analyzing how often non-Catholics engage in quiet moments with the Lord. 

In the survey, published by Lifeway Research, an organization that analyzes ongoing church ministry trends, 65% of Protestant churchgoers said they intentionally spend time with God at least daily. Forty-four percent of participants said they spend time with God once a day, while 21% said they enjoy quiet time with God multiple times a day. 

Lifeway Research conducted the survey of 1,002 Americans from Sept. 19-29, 2022, recruiting participants through a national pre-recruited panel. Respondents were screened to determine whether they attend religious services at least once per month and identify as Protestant/nondenominational. 

Another 17% of churchgoers say they spend time alone with God several times a week instead of once or multiple times a day, and 7% say they have quiet time with the Lord once a week. 

Five percent said they spend time with God a few times a month, 2% said once a month, and 3% answered less than once a month. Only 1% of respondents said they never spend time alone with God.

Gender appears to play a part in how likely respondents were to say that finding alone time with God was a daily habit for them. In the survey, 48% of women said that quiet time with God is part of their daily habit, compared to 38% of men. 

People in the South (49%) were the most likely to say that they spend time alone with God on a regular basis, while 25% of Baptists said that they find time with God more than once a day. Thirty percent of those with Evangelical beliefs and 15% without Evangelical beliefs said the same.

Twenty-six percent of people who attend worship services at least four times a month are more likely to spend time alone with God more than once a day, compared to 13% of churchgoers who attend services one to three times a month. 

“We see a pattern in Scripture of followers of God withdrawing to spend time alone with Him. Jesus Christ Himself also did this,” Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement. “Most Protestant churchgoers continue this relational interaction with God and use a variety of resources as they do.”

The way that churchgoers choose to spend time with the Lord differs, however, with 83% of respondents saying that they pray to God in their own words instead of through the Bible. Eighty percent thank God during their time alone with Him, 62% praise Him, and 49% confess their sins. 

Only 39% read from the Bible or a devotional, and only 20% repeat a set prayer. Eighteen percent consider God’s characteristics while spending time with the Lord, and 1% say that they do something else. 

Respondents between the ages of 18 through 34 (31%) and 35 through 49 (26%) were more likely to say that they repeat a set prayer than participants ages 50 to 64 (16%) and over 65 (11%). Eighty-five percent of churchgoers ages 50 to 64 said that they pray to God in their own words, and 89% of those over 65 said the same. 

For respondents among the younger age group categories, 77% said that they were more likely to pray to God in their own words. 

How likely churchgoers were to pray in their own words differed between the sexes, with 86% of women saying they’re more likely to use their own words instead of repeating a set prayer, compared to 79% of men. 

The study noted that 85% of people who attend services at least four times a month are more likely to pray in their own words than those who attend less frequently (79%). Those who attend services one to three times a month (24%) are more likely than those who attend more frequently (16%) to pray a set prayer. 

In addition, those without Evangelical beliefs (22%) were more likely than people who do hold those beliefs (16%) to repeat a set prayer.

“There are many reasons to pray a set prayer. Whether someone is praying the model prayer Jesus gave or repeating the same request to God each day, these can be meaningful,” McConnell said. “At the same time, Scripture also records Psalms and prayers within its narrative accounts that show how personal and forthright we can be when talking to God in our own words.”

If participants were to read something during their quiet time with God, 63% said that it would be from the Bible. Twenty-five percent said that they would read from a Bible that included commentary or devotionals, and 20% said that they would read Scripture on a phone app. 

A small number of respondents (8%) said that they would read from a devotional book that doesn’t print Scripture, while 7% said they’d read a devotional on an app, and 3% said that they’d read something else. 

As The Christian Post reported, another Lifeway Research survey of 1,000 Americans released in November found that 50% of Protestants prefer to attend a politically homogenous church, while 41% disagreed and 10% were uncertain. 

The survey noted that 19% of Protestants strongly agree they prefer to attend a church where people share their political views, up from 12% in 2017.

This survey about the frequency men and women spend alone time with God has a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of +/- 3.3%. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com. Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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