The National Day of Prayer is today, Thursday, May 7, and though it is a thoroughly politicized event run out of Focus on the Family–read Dan Gilgoff’s USNews report on the maneuverings this year now that Barack Obama in the White House–on a higher level it causes us to think about prayer, and why and how often and who prays.
The Pew Forum has a graphic drawn from their mammoth Religious Landscape Survey that shows who prays at least once a day. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the chattiest, and Catholics, God bless us, are exactly “average,” as 58 percent of us pray at least once a day, same as the general population. Good? Or just not good enough?
The other factors of interest, though not surprise, are that the older and poorer you are, the more you pray. And of course women are far more observant. Let’s ask ourselves what these categories of the prayerful can tell us about prayer.
I also wonder how respondents would define prayer: A formal, habitual prayer, or the fleeting request in times of anxiety or gratitude of the sort that come to my mind and sometimes lips dozens of times a day?