Monday, July 7, 2008

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey -- Prayer

Last night I drifted off to restless sleep trying to conjure up what, if anything, would get Jews as upset about Judaism as Catholics ever seem to get about Catholicism.

One year during the 1960s, my mother was infuriated with the UJA for publishing the dollar amounts of everyone's contribution. I don't know whether this happened on a national or local level. All I remember is a lot of Tourette's Syndrome-like muttering that didn't affect either our religious affiliation or Jewish identity. I'll need to ponder the larger issue a bit more.

Meanwhile, after reviewing The Pew Forum findings about who's the ONE, my attention was captured by what Catholic respondents revealed about prayer.

When it comes to frequency, 58% say they pray daily and 21% cop to praying weekly. When asked, "How often do you receive a definite answer to a specific prayer request," 15% apparently receive a definite answer at least once a week, 11% once or twice a month. (N= 8054)

My sociological imagination is running amuk and wondering if folks consider "no" a "definite answer." How about "not yet?" And would that change the response category for the 31% who said they "Seldom/never" have their prayers answered?

I'm also curious about the 8% of Catholics categorized as "Don't know/refused" when asked about receiving a definite answer. Does this mean they're waiting for burning bush quality verification or saying "it's none of your beeswax"? Maybe they can't take "no" for a divine answer.


  1. I'm pretty sure my prayers are always answered, one way or another. Those who have totally consecrated themselves to Mary know that sometimes, in answer to our prayers, someone else receives what we've asked for, because that fits better with what Jesus has in mind, or because they need it more.

  2. Amen! And for me there are all those times when I think I'm praying for the "right" thing and I come to find out that I have super-duper protected.


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