THE POWER OF PRAYER: Overwhelming Number of Canadians Embrace Prayer

Prayer-Alive-Poll-PM-Trudeau

86 Percent Canadians Believe Prayer Is Enriching!

Prayer-Alive-Poll-PIC3Prayer-Alive-PollOverwhelming number of Canadians believe in the power of prayer with 86% Canadians – even those who are inclined to reject religion themselves (57%) – view prayer as enriching for the person who prays, according to a new poll by Angus Reid. Roughly three-in-four (74%) of those who have said a prayer in the last year say they “often” or “sometimes” pray at home. This compares to fewer than two-in-five (36%) who say they regularly prayed at a place of worship in the last year.

By PD Raj

DESIBUZZbc (1)-RedVANCOUVER – Overwhelming number of Canadians believe in the power of prayer with 86% Canadians – even those who are inclined to reject religion themselves (57%) – view prayer as enriching for the person who prays, according to a new poll by Angus Reid.

According to the poll released on Mother’s Day, while public religious expression has arguably been relegated from public space in Canada, prayer, whether personal, with family, or at a house of worship, appears to remain a prominent part of the lives of many Canadians.

Prayer-Alive-Poll-PIC4The new survey, self-commissioned and funded by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI), finds a large number of Canadians do, in fact, engage in various forms of prayer on a regular basis.

Moreover, even those who don’t pray do see some value in this religious expression at the individual level.

Forty-two per cent of Canadians are involved in at least one prayer related activity, once each week. An additional 44 per cent say they engage in some prayer activity each month.

Key Findings:

*Most Canadians (86%) – even those who are inclined to reject religion themselves (57%) – view prayer as enriching for the person who prays

*Those who pray are more likely to do so at home or in informal settings, rather than at a place of worship

*Canadians pray for a variety of reasons, but the most common ones are to thank God (71%) and to ask for help (70%)

Prayer-Alive-Poll-ChristianThe poll found that as the many faiths Canadians embrace across this country are diverse, so too are prayer patterns.

Despite some anxieties in religious communities about the fall of faith, it would appear that many Canadians continue to embrace prayer, however personal and individual it may be – and it is often personal.

Canadians are much more likely to have prayed privately, individually, at least once each week over the last year, compared to other prayer activities that they may engage in. One-third (34%) say they partake in personal prayer with this frequency, while, for example, just 14 per cent say they attended a religious service weekly.

In fact, more than half of Canadians (54%) say they’ve prayed privately in the last year, though the regularity with which they do is the subject of much variation. A much smaller group of 15 per cent say they “hardly ever” pray, though they aren’t necessarily dead-set against doing so.

The remaining one-third (32%) say they are disinclined to pray privately at all – asked how often they have over the past year, they say “never”.

One-in-five (20%) Canadians say they take time to pray daily, and an additional 10 per cent say, though they don’t pray every day, they still manage to do so several times each week.

The remaining quarter of the praying population is divided into smaller groups of roughly five-to-seven per cent, all of whom pray between once a week to less than once a month.

Older Canadians are much more likely to pray regularly. More than four-in-ten (43%) of those 55 and older say they’ve prayed once a week or ]An Indian Hindu holy man, or Naga Sadhu, prays while taking a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the royal bath on Makar Sankranti at the start of the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take part in the large religious congregation that lasts more than 50 days on the banks of Sangam during the Maha Kumbh Mela in January 2013, which falls every 12th year. (AP Photo/ Kevin Frayer) An Indian Hindu holy man, or Naga Sadhu, prays while taking a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the royal bath on Makar Sankranti at the start of the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take part in the large religious congregation that lasts more than 50 days on the banks of Sangam during the Maha Kumbh Mela in January 2013, which falls every 12th year. (AP Photo/ Kevin Frayer)[/caption]An Indian Hindu holy man, or Naga Sadhu, prays while taking a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the royal bath on Makar Sankranti at the start of the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take part in the large religious congregation that lasts more than 50 days on the banks of Sangam during the Maha Kumbh Mela in January 2013, which falls every 12th year. (AP Photo/ Kevin Frayer)[/caption]more over the past year. This level drops with age – one-third (34%) of those in the 35-54 age group say the same, while just under one-quarter (23%) of the youngest group, 18-34, have prayed with this level of frequency.

Prayer habits tend to be strongest in this country during childhood. In fact, nearly six-in-ten (58%) Canadians say they prayed once a week or more during this period of their life, significantly more than those who say they prayed as often during adolescence (41%), or as an adult. In fact, among adults in Canada, just one-third (34%) say they still pray at least once each week.

A Nepalese Muslim boy offers prayer during Eid al-Fitr celebrations at a mosque in Kathmandu July 29, 2014. The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (NEPAL - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) - RTR40GK0 

Interestingly, childhood prayer habits are strongly correlated with both the likelihood and frequency of prayer as an adult. Among those who prayed often as a child – that is, at least once a month – more than one-quarter (28%) report that they prayed daily over the course of the last year. Compare this with those who prayed less than once a month as a child, or those who did not pray at all. Among these two groups, just six per cent and four per cent, respectively, say they prayed daily this past year.

The inverse of this relationship also appears to hold. If a person did not pray during childhood, the chances they are going to pick it up in adulthood are slim. Of those who say they “never” prayed as a child, 86 per cent say they still don’t as an adult (see comprehensive tables for greater detail).

There are a number of additional ways that Canadians engage in prayer, which help to paint a more fulsome portrait of religious expression in Canada. Respondents were presented with a number of “prayer activities” and asked which of these they have engaged in within the past year.

Though individual prayer is the most common activity – 34% do this once a week or more – almost one-in-five Canadians say they meditate (17%) or say grace at the table (17%). The graph below shows the propensity of Canadians to engage in prayer activity each week:

What does prayer look like?

When Canadians pray, they’re most likely to do so at home. Roughly three-in-four (74%) of those who have said a prayer in the last year say they “often” or “sometimes” pray at home. This compares to fewer than two-in-five (36%) who say they regularly prayed at a place of worship in the last year.

Prayer-Alive-Poll2Canadians are much more likely to say they prayed “wherever they happened to be” than to say they prayed in a church, temple, or mosque:

This finding fits with the sort of informal approach taken by most Canadians who pray. Fully two-thirds (66%) of those who have prayed in the last year say they “often” or “sometimes” pray lying down. That’s three times as many as say they habitually pray while kneeling or sitting cross-legged (22% each).

Courtesy Angus Reid Institute | Analysis of prayer in Canada

 

 

 

 

 

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