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?
Christians Jews Muslims
More than once each day 68.1% 36.9% 91.6%
Once a day 16.1% 22% 3%
A few times a week 12.1% 27.3% 2.4%
Once a week 0.7% 4% 0%
A few times a month 1.9% 5.4% 1.8%
Once a month 0.2% 0.2% 0%
Every few months 0.6% 3.3% 0.6%
Not at all 0.2% 1% 0.6%



In the last six months, my prayers have related to: (those answering "often" or "all the time")
Christians Jews Muslims
Health & safety 78% 74% 73%
Personal finances or work 55% 36% 51%
Relationships 68% 54% 63%
General strength 75% 66% 78%
Comforting the bereaved 42% 40% 42%
Pets 12% 18% 6%
God's forgiveness 76% 42% 92%
God's guidance 93% 74% 94%
Lost souls 44% 20% 46%
Victims of tragedies 50% 40% 54%
Improving the world 48% 57% 59%
The president/world leaders 37% 22% 18%
Stronger faith 74% 44% 91%
Giving thanks 91% 84% 90%



When your prayers relate to health, what kinds of things do you pray about?
Christians Jews Muslims
Help with specific diseases, like cancer, chronic pain 72.2% 74.2% 59.5%
Mental health or depression 64.8% 63.8% 68.6%
Addiction 28.5% 14.3% 20.9%
Accidents 28.6% 22.7% 35.9%
Birth defects 8% 8.2% 12.4%
Fertility 7.2% 8.4% 14.4%
Pet illness 11% 17% 6.5%



I most often pray for:
Christians Jews Muslims
Myself 30.1% 31.9% 41.6%
Friends 9.3% 9.6% 2.4%
Family 57.7% 56.2% 52.4%
Strangers 2.9% 2.3% 3.6%



The most important purpose of prayer is:
Christians Jews Muslims
To improve your own life 2.9% 6.7% 7.8%
To help others 4.7% 8.8% 0.6%
To express your intentions 1.5% 4% 0.6%
Intimacy with God 41.9% 26.7% 22.2%
To seek God's guidance 28.7% 25.8% 41.9%
To thank God for your blessings 20.3% 27.9% 26.9%



Are your prayers answered?
Christians Jews Muslims
Never 0.6% 2.9% 1.2%
Rarely 2.6% 6.7% 2.4%
Sometimes 26.3% 44.5% 22.2%
Often 43% 33.1% 44.3%
Always 27.5% 12.7% 29.9%



When your prayers don't come true, you believe the most important reason is:
Christians Jews Muslims
God is punishing you 1.2% 3.4% 1.8%
It's not in God's plan 79.4% 50.3% 72.6%
Your faith isn't strong enough 8% 3.8% 9.8%
God helps those who help themselves 6.6% 18.6% 13.4%
God doesn't respond to specific prayers 4.8% 24% 2.4%



Where do you pray most often?
Christians Jews Muslims
At a house of worship 4.4% 14% 7.2%
At home 79.5% 75.8% 89.2%
While traveling 9.8% 4.5% 1.8%
In nature 2.1% 4.5% 0.6%
At work 3.8% 1% 1.2%
On the Internet, through online prayer circles 0.3% 0.4% 0%



The words I use are:
Christians Jews Muslims
Based on sacred texts or written prayers 2.3% 13.8% 26.9%
My own 52% 36% 13.2%
A mix 45.7% 50.2% 59.9%



When you pray do you:
Christians Jews Muslims
Light candles 12.2% 31.6% 1.2%
Use beads 9.1% 0.4% 21.1%
Kneel 29.1% 2.7% 57.8%
Use incense 3.2% 2.5% 4.8%
Chant 2.8% 10% 12.7%
Say prayers out loud 47.4% 43.2% 43.4%
Say prayers silently 90.9% 90.4% 95.2%
Use the Internet 8.4% 3.9% 3%



In the past six months, have other people prayed for you?
Christians Jews Muslims
Yes -- Friends & family 81.7% 56.7% 84%
Yes -- My religious community 39.4% 20.4% 26.4%
Yes -- "Prayer warriors" or others I don't personally know 28% 8.1% 11.7%
No 9.2% 35.3% 14.7%



If someone prayed for you, did you feel as if it helped?
Christians Jews Muslims
Yes 75.8% 44% 67.5%
No 1.9% 6.7% 1.9%
Not sure 22.2% 49.3% 30.6%
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