More People are Turning to Prayer

No one bothers to pray if they don’t think, in their hearts, that someone might be listening.

James Tissot (1836-1902), “All the City was Gathered at His Door”
James Tissot (1836-1902), “All the City was Gathered at His Door” (photo: Public Domain)

We could all use a little good news right now.

With many people questioning whether the coronavirus could be a form of chastisement, a ‘warning” of some kind to bring our lives and our country back to God, a new poll sought to find out if the contagion has impacted religious behavior.

The Pew Research poll of 11,500 Americans has found that more than half of all U.S. adults (55%) say they have prayed for an end to the spread of the coronavirus in recent weeks. 

What’s most interesting is the turning to prayer on the part of Americans who say they seldom or never pray. The poll shows that 15% of people who rarely or never pray, and 25% of those who say they don’t belong to any religion, say they’ve prayed about the COVID-19 outbreak in recent weeks.

No one bothers to pray if they don’t think there’s anyone to address their prayer to. This survey seems to indicate that some people are now giving thought to their Creator, their purpose, their mortality. And with overwhelming negatives bombarding us at every turn, that is one very positive impact of the coronavirus

Religious “nones” — especially self-described atheists and agnostics — were found to be less likely than those who identify with a religion to have prayed for the virus to pass, though 36% of those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” say they have prayed about the virus.

While Catholics and others are barred from attending Mass or other services, people who were regular churchgoers are finding other forms of worship. Fifty-nine percent say they’re going to church less often than they were before, and about the same percentage (57%) say they’ve watched religious services online or on TV instead of attending in person. About 40% of regular worshippers seem to have replaced in-person attendance with virtual worship, at least for now.

Knowing that some people who were, for whatever reason, uninterested or disconnected from God and prayer, are now finding a need for it in their life is an encouragement to reach out to evangelize. Reaching out to anyone we come in contact with who shares their anxiety or need to pray and isn’t a practicing Catholic can go a long way toward leading them on the right path. Providing resources for them, including parishes offering Mass and/or Adoration online or in-church prayer times (with social distancing), online videos or podcasts, online Rosary or prayer meetings are ways to inspire their interest and their search.


My Suggestions:

  • EWTN. From Daily Mass, Rosary, news from a Catholic perspective, to videos and podcasts — you can’t go wrong with anything from the network Mother Angelica built.
  • Catholics Come Home answers the basic why questions to our faith, including Why Catholicism. In nine languages!
  • The Journey Home. Thirty-minute video testimonies of converts and reverts to the faith from atheists, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. Each person’s story is unique.
  • Your local diocesan and parish website with ministries and programs, online Mass and more.