3 for Thursday: 3 Takeaways from the Lifeway Survey of American Prayer

SurveyAccording to a new Lifeway survey (via CT), 48 percent of Americans pray every day and, surprisingly, not all pray for their favorite sports team (13 percent). There is a lot of interesting information in the survey, but for this week I’ve curated three quick takeaways.

1) Praying is believed to work

Though not a conclusion resulting from peer-review or duplicated experiments, Americans do feel as if their prayers have some effect on their daily lives.

Overall, one in four Americans report that God answers all their prayers, while eight in 10 say at least some of their prayers are answered. Protestants are just a tad more likely to sense a response: 30 percent said God answers all of their prayers, and 87 percent said God answers at least some. Only 3 percent of Protestants said their prayers are never answered.

2) Those affected by natural disasters get less prayer

Natural disasters regularly inspire calls for prayer, but less than half of Americans (38 percent) and Protestants (44 percent) say they pray for those affected. A higher percentage of women (41 percent) than men (35 percent) pray for “people in natural disasters,” as do Baby Boomers (49 percent) than Gen Xers (34 percent) or Millennials (35 percent).

 3) Wealthier Americans are more likely to take the Psalm 137 approach to prayer

Wealthier Americans are more likely to use two imprecatory prayers: for someone to get fired, and for “bad things to happen to bad people.” One-quarter of respondents with an annual income higher than $150,000 pray for “bad things to happen to bad people,” while only around 8 percent of respondents making less than $50,000 said they would do so. And nearly one in five Americans with incomes over $150,000 have prayed for someone to get fired; in contrast, only 1 in 20 Americans who make between $75,000 and $149,000 and only one in 100 Americans who make less than $30,000 say they have prayed the same.

In search of belief changing ideas