According to a new study commissioned by Skylight and conducted by City Square Associates, Americans spend an average of 18 minutes praying daily, with almost half saying they pray on a regular basis. The National Day of Prayer Survey, which was carried out from April 6 to April 17 on a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18-64, found that prayer remains a constant practice in people’s lives, despite recent statistics suggesting that Americans are becoming less religiously affiliated. The survey found that 55% of Americans increased the frequency of their spiritual connection practices (prayer, meditation, mindfulness, affirmations/mantras, yoga) during COVID-19 lockdowns, while only 14% reported doing less.
The top three reasons Americans said they speak to a higher power through prayer are praying for a loved one in crisis, prayer for someone who is ill, and praying for other people. Furthermore, 65% of Americans say they connect with a higher power regularly (at least a few times a week) through prayer, meditation, mindfulness, or reciting affirmations. The survey found that Americans who pray are finding time to do so throughout the day, with 50% praying at dawn or when they wake, 27% at breakfast, and 25% during their commute, among other times.
The survey also revealed that Americans are praying in places other than, or in addition to, their home or a place of worship, with 15% more respondents saying they pray in their car than in a place of worship, while 25% of Americans pray in the shower. Additionally, one in four (25%) Americans say they pray at work, with 74% reporting that they have prayed at their desk or workstation, 42% in a parking lot, 31% in a restroom, and 19% in a place dedicated for prayer or meditation.
70% of praying Americans say they pray to connect with God; 45% to feel less anxious or depressed, 41% to find solutions to problems, 36% to feel in control, and 29% to heal from trauma. Moreover, Americans claim that prayer has many positive effects on their wellbeing, with 42% reporting feeling a sense of calm when they pray, 41% grateful, 24% connected, 23% humbled, 18% loving, 17% motivated, and 15% inspired.
The survey concludes that “the majority of Americans are connecting with the Divine in diverse, beautiful ways,” and that “prayer is everywhere, and it’s making our lives better.” To see the full results of the study, visit prayerwrap.org.