Results of one of the most in-depth surveys of its kind on prayer show more than 85 percent of Americans are connecting with a higher power on a daily basis.
The 2023 National Day of Prayer Study, commissioned by Skylight and conducted by City Square Associates, surveyed a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18-64 about ways they connect with God. Because this year’s National Day of Prayer coincided with the unofficial national Star Wars day “May The Fourth,” some of the questions were Star Wars themed.
Here’s a sampling of what faith thought leaders are writing about the study:
- Writer, novelist and ex-missionary Duncan Pile looked at the results that showed more Americans would rather pray with Yoda than his counterparts. He wrote, “A Christian seeking to grow in their effectiveness would do well to find such a mentor – somebody who has put in the time to master their gifts, and who is willing to take them on as a mentee.” Read more
- Veteran entertainment journalist Kate O’Hare tackled the Star Wars angle with commentary from a Catholic priest. She asks him: “Many believe that ‘May the Force be with you,’ which became ‘May the 4th be with you,’ had its origins in the Latin phrase Dominus Vobiscum, or ‘May the Lord be with you,’ … That being said, what value is there for Catholics in thinking about the fictional spirituality of the Star Wars universe?” Read his answer
- Christian pastor and lawyer Rick Rice examined five questions the study attempted to answer including “Why do people pray?” Read more
- Quaker educator and Presbyterian minister Rev. Dr. Margaret Somerville explored how “prayer is a part of the ordinary spaces and moments of our daily lives.” Read more
- Best-selling author and Islamic lecturer Dr. Ejaz Naqvi, MD provided an Islamic viewpoint writing “Prayers are a very important part of the Islamic belief system and the life of Muslims.” Read more
- Muslim lifestyle and modest fashion writer Nadia Ahmed also came to the survey with an Islamic perspective stating, “Prayer is a vital aspect of worship, and it is seen as a means of attaining spiritual purity and seeking blessings from Allah.” Read more
- Writer, editor and “everyday theologian” Tricia Gates Brown revealed her own complicated relationship with prayer expressing, “But I do value prayer deeply. To resolve my conflict, I long ago developed an image of prayer as joining my energy with the divine flow of love that is God.” Read more
- Popular author and columnist Tom Rapsas found what Americans are praying for might be the most surprising remarking “In what many consider a ‘me-first’ culture, it seems that when most Americans pray, they are not praying for themselves—they are praying for others.” Read more
- Former journalist turned religious writer Ginny Baxter took a deep dive into the survey, but noted that she enjoyed reading articles covering the topic from other writers with different faith perspectives. She wrote, “The world would be a much better place if people had a better understanding and respect for one another.” Read more
- Educator and Catholic writer Mary Ann Steutermann examined “If prayer is so common, why is religious affiliation declining at such a rapid pace? Doesn’t one relate to the other? Yes. And no.” Read more
- Buddhist In The City writer John Buchanan looked at how prayer and joy can, and should be, experienced together. Read more
Check out the results of the entire survey here. And scroll down for some of the more interesting insights.
Read more about prayer here.