A new survey commissioned by the Church of England found younger generations are more inclined than older people to spend time in prayer.
More than half of 18 to 34-year-olds — 56% — reported having ever prayed, compared with 48% of adults overall. The percentage dipped to just 41% when it came to adults 55 years or older.
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“These findings really challenge the all-too-common assumption that young people are not interested in faith or spiritual things,” said Dr. Stephen Hance, national lead for evangelism and witness at the Church of England. “In fact, they show us that — more than simply being interested in spirituality — they are already exploring it in practice, to a greater extent than their elders.”
He added, “[W]ith pressures mounting and people of every generation facing huge uncertainty, many people of all ages are drawing strength from God in prayer.”
Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, said in response to the study that prayer can radically transform a person’s life and is an integral part of the Christian faith.
“As Christians,” he said, “prayer is the bedrock of our faith and deepens our relationship and understanding of God.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to daily prayer, the numbers drastically fall. Only 13% of the survey’s 2,073 respondents reported praying on a daily basis. Fourteen percent of 18- to 34-year-olds said the same.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the writers of the Bible repeatedly implore Christians to spend time in prayer. Even Jesus, in the moments before the arrest that ended in His crucifixion, spent time alone in Gethsemane, where He prayed to the Lord (Matthew 26:36).
Christians pray because it is a repeatedly communicated biblical command. Believers spend time in prayer for a number of reasons, including as an act of service to God, a way to repent, to discern God’s will, to overcome temptation, to seek spiritual strength, and to make requests for ourselves and others.
It is critical to note the U.K. survey included the prayer habits of people from every major religion. When solely considering Christians, the survey found 66% have ever prayed and 19% do so on a daily basis.
The top three subjects of individuals’ prayers overall were “for my family and friends” (69%), “for people I know who are sick” (54%), and “to give thanks” (51%).
While not broken down along religious lines, the study showed just 9% attend faith services on a weekly basis and only 6% read a religious text, like the Bible, weekly.
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