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More people praying during lockdown, survey suggests

03 May 2020

istock

ONE in 20 adults have started to pray during the lockdown, despite not praying before, a new survey published by the charity Tearfund suggests.

The online poll of 2101 adults was published on Sunday. It was carried out by the research consultancy Savanta ComRes, between 24 and 27 April.

Five per cent of respondents said that they had started to pray during the lockdown, having not prayed before. The survey also found that five per cent of respondents who said that they had watched or listened to a religious service since the lockdown began had never attended a church service before.

Just over one quarter (26 per cent) of respondents said that they prayed at least once a month. Of these, 45 per cent said that they were praying during the lockdown because they believed in God; 33 per cent said that they prayed because they believed that prayer made a difference; 26 per cent said that they prayed in times of tragedy or personal crisis; and 24 per cent said that they used prayer as a source of personal comfort as well as to ease feelings of loneliness.

Among the respondents who said that they prayed more than once a month, the largest age bracket were adults aged 18 to 24 (30 per cent), while 25 per cent of adults who prayed more than once a month were aged 55 and over. Adults aged between 18 and 24 were also more likely to pray about the Government’s response to Covid-19: 25 per cent, compared with 23 per cent of those aged 65 and over, and 15 per cent of those aged 25-64.

Furthermore, 34 per cent of the respondents aged 18 to 24 said that they had watched or listened to a religious service since the lockdown, whether via TV, radio, or online, compared with only 19 per cent of those aged 55 or over. Men were more likely than women to say they had watched or listened to a religious service since the start of the lockdown: 28 per cent said they had, compared with 21 per cent of female respondents.

The global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund, Dr Ruth Valerio, said: “It is encouraging to see the number of people in the UK praying during such a challenging time. Our experience at Tearfund is that prayer and practical action go hand-in-hand, and are both crucial ways of responding. With Covid-19 rates continuing to rise around the world, we are calling more people to pray and take action.”

The results bear similarities to a survey published by Tearfund in 2018 (News, 19 January 2018), which found one in five non-religious people saying that they had prayed in the past. Of these, 55 per cent said that tragedy and disaster were the most common reasons for praying. Almost one quarter said that they prayed as “a last resort” during a crisis.

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