Most churchgoers prefer prayer to Bible reading: study

Most churchgoers prefer prayer to Bible reading: study by Leah MarieAnn Klett for Christian Today

Most Protestant churchgoers in the United States spend time alone with God on a daily basis — but most talk to God through prayer rather than listening to Him through His Word, a new study has found.

According to a study by Lifeway Research, 65% of Protestant churchgoers intentionally spend time alone with God at least daily, with 44% saying daily and 21% saying more than once a day.

Meanwhile, 17% of churchgoers say they are alone with God several times a week, and 7% say once a week. Others said they spent time alone with God a few times a month (5%), once a month (2%, less than once a month (3%) or never (1%).

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Lifeway Research conducted the online survey of 1,002 Americans Sept. 19-29, 2022, using a national pre-recruited panel. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant/non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month.

Most churchgoers, 83%, say they are more likely to talk to God through prayer rather than reading from the Bible or a devotional (39%). Most churchgoers pray in their own words (83%), thank God (80%), praise God (62%) or confess sins (49%).

“An earlier discipleship study from Lifeway Research showed that praising and thanking God is one of the top five predictors of high spiritual maturity,” Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “This is a widespread practice among churchgoers when they are alone with God.”

Interestingly, out of churchgoers that opted to read during their time alone with God, most said they would prefer to read from a physical Bible (63%). Others would read from a Bible that includes additional commentary or devotional thoughts (25%) or Scripture from an app (20%). Only 7% said they would read a devotional from an app.

Researchers discovered that those with Evangelical beliefs are more likely than those without Evangelical beliefs to say they would read from a Bible (78% compared to 52%) if they were reading something in their time alone with God.

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