Why do people pray?
You may be surprised
The Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board offered a reflection on “Why Prayer Appeals to Americans.”* For six decades we have celebrated National Prayer Day. But, who prays and why?
A Pew survey found that among “highly religious” Americans, 9 in 10 say they rely a lot on prayer to make major life decisions. Even 1 in 10 “nones” turn to prayer for help in making decisions. A Gallup survey found that the more frequent prayers found a “secure attachment to God.” Dr. Jeff Levin of Baylor University in the Journal of Religion and Health, reports that those with “a close connection with God, who love God and feel loved by God,” are more likely to pray for healing.
A less scientific but likely reliable survey might find that prayer is common in crisis experiences. When potential death or extreme suffering seem imminent, many, if not most of us, “resort” to some kind of prayer. When our finitude seems not up to the challenge, we reach for infinity. Maybe we are made with a capacity and inclination to reach beyond ourselves for help when challenged with life-threatening events.
· If that last survey report has validity, why not seek infinity whenever finitude falls short?
· Lots of books have been written about prayer, if you wrote one, what would it include?
· What is the connection between prayer, meditation, mindfullness and other ways that many find to center down in the midst of complexity?
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*Footnotes: Christian Science Monitor — 2 May 2016