Thousands of people in the UK are turning to prayer during lockdown, according to new research. Nearly a quarter say they have watched or listened to a religious service. According to poll of 2,101 adults, 44 per cent say they pray, and among those who pray, 33 per cent say that they have prayed since the Covid-19 lockdown because they believe it makes a difference.
The research, by Savanta ComRes1 for the Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, found that 24 per cent of UK adults have watched or listened to a religious service since lockdown, on the radio, live on TV, on demand or streamed online.
This jumps to three quarters 76 per cent among regular churchgoers. One in twenty UK adults who who say they have watched or listened to a religious service since lockdown, also say they have never actually gone to church.
The poll also showed that younger adults aged 18-34 are more likely to say they pray regularly – at least once a month – than adults aged 55 and over.
Among those who pray, more than half have prayed about family members, a quarter have prayed for frontline services and one in five say they have prayed for someone who is unwell with Covid-19. Just over a sixth of those who pray say they have prayed for other countries with Covid-19.
The new findings on prayer reveal a strong belief in the power of prayer to bring about positive change in the world, according to Tearfund.
Among those who pray, two thirds say they agree that God hears their prayers and over half say they agree that prayer changes the world. Half of those who pray agree that they’ve witnessed answers to their own prayers and over two fifths believe that their prayer changes the lives of people living in poverty in developing countries.
Dr Ruth Valerio, global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund, said: “It is encouraging to see the number of people in the UK praying during such a challenging time. Our experience at Tearfund is that prayer and practical action go hand-in-hand, and are both crucial ways of responding. With Covid-19 rates continuing to rise around the world, we are calling more people to pray and take action.”
Tearfund, a member of the Disasters' Emergency Committee, whose work is funded by donations, is among those responding to the pandemic by providing hygiene and sanitation assistance to minimise the risk of infection.
Isolated but Not Alone is The Tablet's list of online resources during lockdown.