U.S. News & Beliefnet Prayer Survey Results

What is the purpose of prayer? What do people pray for? The fascinating results of our online prayer survey.

The following charts include data for Christians, Jews, and Muslims who filled out the online prayer survey conducted by U.S. News and Beliefnet. Data for Hindus, Buddhists, and others is not included because the number of respondents in these groups was not large enough to constitute representative samples.



In addition to the multiple choice questions, readers were asked to write an optional essay in response to the question: "Describe any times when your prayers were answered." You can read some of their answers

here

.



(Because the survey is still open, the data below may differ slightly from the statistics cited in the U.S. News article,

How We Talk to God

.



How often do you pray?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
More than once each day68.1%36.9%91.6%
Once a day16.1%22%3%
A few times a week12.1%27.3%2.4%
Once a week0.7%4%0%
A few times a month1.9%5.4%1.8%
Once a month0.2%0.2%0%
Every few months0.6%3.3%0.6%
Not at all0.2%1%0.6%


In the last six months, my prayers have related to: (those answering "often" or "all the time")
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Health & safety78%74%73%
Personal finances or work55%36%51%
Relationships68%54%63%
General strength75%66%78%
Comforting the bereaved42%40%42%
Pets12%18%6%
God's forgiveness76%42%92%
God's guidance93%74%94%
Lost souls44%20%46%
Victims of tragedies50%40%54%
Improving the world48%57%59%
The president/world leaders37%22%18%
Stronger faith74%44%91%
Giving thanks91%84%90%


When your prayers relate to health, what kinds of things do you pray about?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Help with specific diseases, like cancer, chronic pain72.2%74.2%59.5%
Mental health or depression64.8%63.8%68.6%
Addiction28.5%14.3%20.9%
Accidents28.6%22.7%35.9%
Birth defects8%8.2%12.4%
Fertility7.2%8.4%14.4%
Pet illness11%17%6.5%


I most often pray for:
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Myself30.1%31.9%41.6%
Friends9.3%9.6%2.4%
Family57.7%56.2%52.4%
Strangers2.9%2.3%3.6%


The most important purpose of prayer is:
ChristiansJewsMuslims
To improve your own life2.9%6.7%7.8%
To help others4.7%8.8%0.6%
To express your intentions1.5%4%0.6%
Intimacy with God41.9%26.7%22.2%
To seek God's guidance28.7%25.8%41.9%
To thank God for your blessings20.3%27.9%26.9%


Are your prayers answered?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Never0.6%2.9%1.2%
Rarely2.6%6.7%2.4%
Sometimes26.3%44.5%22.2%
Often43%33.1%44.3%
Always27.5%12.7%29.9%


When your prayers don't come true, you believe the most important reason is:
ChristiansJewsMuslims
God is punishing you1.2%3.4%1.8%
It's not in God's plan79.4%50.3%72.6%
Your faith isn't strong enough8%3.8%9.8%
God helps those who help themselves6.6%18.6%13.4%
God doesn't respond to specific prayers4.8%24%2.4%


Where do you pray most often?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
At a house of worship4.4%14%7.2%
At home79.5%75.8%89.2%
While traveling9.8%4.5%1.8%
In nature2.1%4.5%0.6%
At work3.8%1%1.2%
On the Internet, through online prayer circles0.3%0.4%0%


The words I use are:
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Based on sacred texts or written prayers2.3%13.8%26.9%
My own52%36%13.2%
A mix45.7%50.2%59.9%


When you pray do you:
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Light candles12.2%31.6%1.2%
Use beads9.1%0.4%21.1%
Kneel29.1%2.7%57.8%
Use incense3.2%2.5%4.8%
Chant2.8%10%12.7%
Say prayers out loud47.4%43.2%43.4%
Say prayers silently90.9%90.4%95.2%
Use the Internet8.4%3.9%3%


In the past six months, have other people prayed for you?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Yes -- Friends & family81.7%56.7%84%
Yes -- My religious community39.4%20.4%26.4%
Yes -- "Prayer warriors" or others I don't personally know28%8.1%11.7%
No9.2%35.3%14.7%


If someone prayed for you, did you feel as if it helped?
ChristiansJewsMuslims
Yes75.8%44%67.5%
No1.9%6.7%1.9%
Not sure22.2%49.3%30.6%
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