Survey: Even Atheists Pray in Times of Trial

According to a new survey conducted in the UK, a quarter of those claiming to be atheist or agnostic admit that they pray during times of personal crisis or tragedy.

The Daily Mail is reporting on the survey which was carried out by ComRes on behalf of the Christian aid agency, Tearfund, which is devoted to ending world poverty.

Even though church attendance in the UK is at an all-time low, dropping from 6.5 million in 1980 to just three million in 2015, the survey found that people are still praying, even though they may not be doing so in a church. In fact, more than half of all adults say they pray regularly. This includes one in four non-believers who report resorting to calling upon God for help during tough times.

“A third of people pray in the morning or before they go to sleep. People are also increasingly likely to solicit support from God while cooking or exercising,” the Mail reports. “And one in five pray while doing household chores while 15 per cent pray while they commute.”

As for the reasons for prayer, family tops the list at 70 percent. Another 42 percent say they thank God in prayer, while 40 percent ask for healing and another 40 percent mention friends in their prayer.

According to The Guardian, four in ten people surveyed say they believe prayer changes the world and a similar number say it makes them feel better.

For the non-religious, personal crisis or tragedy is what’s most likely to bring them to their knees with one in four admitting that they pray to gain comfort or to feel less lonely.

For example, The Guardian cites a 64 year-old man named Henry, who says he prays every night, kneeling beside his bed, despite not being religious. “I worry about it quite a lot – is it some kind of an insurance policy, is it superstition or is it something more real?”

When asked if he believed in God, he said, “I don’t know but I would describe myself at the skeptical end of agnosticism. I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as religious.”

“We should not be surprised by these recent findings, which reflect human longing for the mystery and love of God amid experiences of daily life,” Rachel Treweek, bishop of Gloucester, told The Guardian.

Ruth Valerio of Tearfund suggested prayer was still important to the lives of people in the UK.

She said: ‘While it is often easier to pray for issues closer to home, we want to encourage people to continue to engage with global issues and pray for an end to extreme poverty.’

One of the main messages of Our Lady of Fatima was to call for more prayer for the world, not just for ourselves. In August of 1917 Our Lady told the children, “pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.”

The good news about this survey is that a lot of people who are no longer going to church, including self-professed atheists and agnostics, are still praying, which means their hearts are open to the saving power of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that their hearts might be touched by His grace and lead them back to the arms of their Father.

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