Health problems have spurred more Americans to prayer in recent years, according to a survey that has tracked prayer rates.
Investigators at the University of Massachusetts surveyed 30,080 adults in 2002 and 22,306 adults in 2007. In 2002, 43% of those surveyed said they prayed about their health. That number jumped to 49% in 2007, according to The New York Times. It’s a number that might come as an eye-opener to hospitals or nursing homes contemplating the future of their chaplaincy programs. Interest in prayer appears to have surged over the past decade: In 1999, only 14% of survey participants reported praying about their health.
Groups of people who were less likely to pray include those who exercise regularly and those with higher incomes. But individuals who were more devout include women, African-Americans, older and married people, and those whose health status had changed, according to the newspaper.
Researchers said they were surprised by the results and speculated that the 9/11 terror attacks might explain the jump in prayerfulness, though they believe more study is needed.