20 million pray in the UK, says Tearfund
Prayer is a vital part of life for nearly half of UK adults, with 20 million saying they pray and one in three adults believing that God is watching over them, according to a report published today (November 11th) by Christian relief and development agency Tearfund.
The survey, conducted among a representative sample of 2,000 adults, reveals strong belief in the power of prayer to bring about positive change in the world. One in three people believes that God is watching over them and will answer their prayers; for the same number of people praying makes them feel better – more peaceful and content (38%), stronger (30%), reassured (21%) and happier (19%); and 12 million adults believe that prayer can change their friends’, families’ and their own lives. One in five believes prayer changes the world.
Talking to their invisible friend might make people feel “more peaceful and content”, but there’s no evidence that praying produces any more significant results, like granting wishes. A medical study on the power of prayer, published last year, concluded:
Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery.
And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
“The most odious of concealed narcissisms – prayer.” John Fowles
“I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.” Homer Simpson
“Praying is like a rocking chair – it’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Gypsy Rose Lee
“The idea that He would take his attention away form the universe in order to give me a bicycle with three speeds is just so unlikely I can’t go along with it.” Quentin Crisp
“When two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests.” The Book of Common Prayer