Prayer still going up

Man prayingNEW SURVEY: 20 million pray in the UK
1 in 5 adults believes ‘prayer changes the world’

In spite of figures which show that church attendance is dropping a survey by Tearfund (11 Nov.) shows that one in three Scots still believe in the power of prayer, with 1.4million (32%) adults in Scotland continuing to turn to prayer - about half at least once per day.

With just 44 days to Christmas the results fly in the face of the view that faith is increasingly irrelevant in today’s secular society. The new findings on prayer follow a survey earlier this year by Tearfund which revealed that 7.6 million adults attend church at least once a month. And staggeringly, London is confirmed as one of the least secular parts of the UK with 73% of adults praying and one in five attending church at least once a month.

Publication of the latest Tearfund report, Prayer in the UK, marks the start of Tearfund’s Global Poverty Prayer Week, November 12-18, during which thousands of people around the UK and in other countries are joining together in prayer about issues of poverty and injustice.

Prayer in the UK provides an authoritative insight into prayer, revealing that prayer is perhaps more common than many believe. Of the 42% (20 million) of UK adults who pray, 13 million pray at least once a month and 12 million at least once a week. Nine million adults pray every day.

One in three believes God will answer their prayers.

PrayingThe survey, conducted among a representative sample of 2,000 adults, reveals strong belief in the power of prayer to bring about positive change in the world. One in three people believes that God is watching over them and will answer their prayers; for the same number of people praying makes them feel better - more peaceful and content (38%), stronger (30%), reassured (21%) and happier (19%); and 12 million adults believe that prayer can change their friends’, families’ and their own lives. One in five believes prayer changes the world.

When it comes to the most popular topics of prayer among the 20 million of UK adults who pray, family & friends (68%) leads the way, followed by thanking God (41%). World issues rank fifth on the list (25%), highlighting the challenge for Tearfund to encourage more prayer for issues of poverty.

Among churchgoers within the survey, 90% per cent say they pray (outside of religious services). Six out of 10 churchgoers pray every day, with two-thirds believing that prayer changes the lives of people living in poverty in developing countries.

Says Matthew Frost, Tearfund Chief Executive: “This report means a great deal to us at Tearfund in our work to help to eradicate poverty through local churches, by demonstrating the prevalence and potential of prayer. We hope in the future to encourage more prayer in support of such issues as fairer global trade rules, quicker progress towards halving world poverty by 2015 and stronger action to tackle climate change. We are encouraging people to make a difference by visiting the Global Poverty Prayer Week website:”

Other findings from Prayer in the UK include:

* London is prayer capital of UK, with 73% of adults praying.
* 9.5 million people (47% of those who pray) believe that prayer changes what happens to the lives of people living in poverty in developing countries.
* While 42% of UK adults pray, the figure for church attendance (at least once a year) is 22%.

Download full report.


The above report is set against a backdrop of declining church attendance.
According to the lastest Scottish Church Census, Church of Scotland attendance declined by 22% between 1994 and 2002. And Roman Catholic attendance was down by 19%.

See Forum debate - "At the Scottish Baptist Assembly at the weekend, it was reported concerning all 5 major denominations, that if things continue as they are (in steady decline) that the church would be in melt down!"
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Archive > Prayer > Prayer still going up