Only 45% of Americans say they pray on a daily basis, survey finds

A new survey conducted by The Presidential Prayer Team reveals that roughly half of Americans pray every day, with more Republicans engaging in daily prayer than Democrats.

The survey panel of over 1,000 adults representative of the United States population was released Tuesday by the Scottsdale, Arizona-based national ministry founded in 2001 to encourage and facilitate prayer for the nation’s president, political leaders and military leaders. 

The survey, which looked at the prayer habits of the American public, was conducted in conjunction with the polling firm Braun Research. Respondents were served in April 2020. 

According to a summary of the survey, 45% of adults surveyed claimed that they pray every day.

About 65% of adults said that they prayed at least once a week, but not daily. 

“Projected across the adult population these statistics estimate that more than 160 million adults pray each week,” a statement from the Presidential Prayer Team explained.

Just 15% of those surveyed said that they never prayed, while the remaining 17% said that they pray irregularly.

The survey concluded that conservatives and moderates were much more likely to pray frequently than their liberal counterparts as 53% of conservatives surveyed said they pray daily. 

By comparison, 42% of moderates and 33% of liberals said the same. Additionally, 30% of liberals said that they never prayed, while 14% of moderates and 9% of conservatives said the same.

A majority of all Republicans (55%) pray daily, while roughly 7% of Republicans never pray. 

Among all Democrats, 43% pray daily while 20% do not pray at all. About 40% of independents surveyed engage in daily prayer, compared to 20% who never pray.

Among those who pray at least weekly, 30% said that they pay “a lot” of attention to news about politics and government. By contrast, just 21% of those who pray irregularly or never said that they keep on top of current affairs.

Those who pray regularly cited support for senior citizens (26%), national defense (17%), crime prevention and law and order (16%), global religious persecution (15%) and domestic religious freedom (12%) as greater areas of interest for them.

While Americans who pray less frequently still expressed at least some interest in support for senior citizens (18%), national defense (9%), and crime prevention and law and order (10%), they showed much less interest in global religious persecution and domestic religious freedom. Just 1% of those who pray irregularly viewed religious freedom at home and abroad as a major area of concern.

Instead, those who pray infrequently saw environmental care (36%) and gun policies (21%) as greater areas of interest. 

Among those who pray frequently, 20% saw environmental care as an area of interest while 12% viewed gun policies as an issue of importance. 

The survey found that the general public saw the issues of abortion, the economy, government size and poverty reduction policies as issues of interest, with no significant difference based on prayer frequency.

When asked why they pray, 64% of respondents said that they saw prayer as a meaningful way to communicate with God and 57% believed that prayer was central to their relationship with God.

Also, 57% cited prayer as one of their methods of worshipping, 55% credit prayer with helping them through challenging situations and 53% said that prayer gave them a reason to hope for a positive resolution in difficult circumstances.

Broken down by political ideology, 71% of conservatives described prayer as their way of personally communicating with God while just 58% of liberal respondents said the same. Additionally, 63% of conservatives and 48% of liberals said that prayer was a central part of their relationship with God.

Over a half (58%) of conservatives saw prayer as a source of hope compared to just 48% of liberals. 

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of conservatives cited prayer as a method for worshipping God compared to slightly more than half (53%) of liberals. 

Both liberals and conservatives agreed that prayer was an important way to help cope with difficult situations and reduce anxiety.

A majority of adults said that they prayed at least weekly for people they know (75%), the country (61%) and the military (53%). Among Republicans, 83% pray for the country weekly, while substantial majorities also prayed for the country (73%) and the military (65%).

A majority of Republicans also said that they prayed for the president (64%), other government officials (58%) and people they disagree with (52%). Majorities of Democrats and independents said that they prayed for people they knew and the country weekly.

Respondents were also asked to weigh in on how they thought God responds to prayers. A plurality (39%) said that God hears and answers all prayers while sometimes answering “no.”

But 20% said that they think God hears all prayers but carries out His will regardless of people’s intentions. About 11% said that God hears all prayers but only answers those submitted by people who are truly committed to Him and 3% of those surveyed believed that God does not hear prayers. 

Only 7% of adults responded to the inquiry by saying that there is no God. Meanwhile, 14% said that they did not have any idea of how God answers prayers.

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