October 11, 2014

​What do Americans Pray For?

©2014 Religion News Service

When Americans aren’t busy praying for themselves
or their own needs — and most of them are—many are seeking divine intervention
on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery,
according to a new survey.

About 13 percent of Americans who pray say
they pray for sports teams, compared with about one in five (21 percent)
who say they have prayed to win the lottery, the new survey from
LifeWay Research suggests.

A survey earlier this year from Public
Religion Research Institute suggested that more Americans (26 percent) pray for
their sports team, while more than seven in 10 (73 percent) say they have
never done this.

Some of LifeWay’s new survey’s main findings

* 48 percent of Americans pray every day
* 82 percent who pray typically pray about family or friends
* 20 percent pray for people of other faiths or no faith
* Equal numbers of Americans (7 percent) pray behind the wheel, either for a
good parking space or not to get a speeding ticket
* Smaller numbers of people, around 5 percent, pray for someone’s relationship
to end, someone to get fired or for someone else to fail.

In the New Testament, Paul encourages Christians
to pray for those in authority. However, only about 12 percent of Americans who
pray say they pray for government officials, according to the survey.

Jesus also directs Christians to pray for their
enemies. About 40 percent who pray say they have done so, while four
in 10 (41 percent) have prayed for people who have mistreated them.

About a third of survey respondents say they
pray several times a day, according to the survey. About two-thirds (65
percent) of Americans say they pray at least once a month.