Posting prayers on social media: New Lifeway survey

An interesting online survey was conducted by Lifeway

May 24-25 from 1040 respondents to a survey with a margin of error +/- 3.1%. Some of the questions asked were:

  • Q: “How do you feel about God when suffering occurs that appears unfair?”
  • Q: “When a natural disaster occurs, my interest in God increases.”
  • Q: “I trust faith-based disaster relief agencies to use their donations more responsibly than secular groups.”
  • Q: “Praying can avert natural disasters.”
  • Q: “Do you post that you are praying for someone or something on social media (like Facebook or Twitter)?”
To the first question, 33% of respondents said they do trust God more, 7% say they don't believe God exists, and 16% say they don't think about God at all. But 57% of Americans say their interest in God increases after a disaster. A majority of Americans 56% trust faith-based agencies to be more responsible with donated monies than secular groups. Surprisingly, 32% of Americans do not donate to any relief agency. I also found interesting that 33% of Americans believe praying can avert a natural disaster, and 67% will not post prayers on social media. And here's the kicker, 23% will actually take a few minutes and pray while 10% will consider posting an update as a form of prayer.

Concerning the prayer questions, I am surprised to note to the question about posting prayer to social media that:
  • Americans who attend at least About once a week are the most likely to
    select “Yes” (45%) and the least likely to select “No” (52%)
  • Self-identified born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians are
    • More likely to select “Yes” (51% to 22%)
    • Less likely to select “No” (47% to 75%)
I am moved to ask the question: Is prayer really decreasing?

Is prayer an art?

I can be lost in wonder at the beauty of some prayers. David's for example how Psalm 16 begins, A Secret Treasure of David. Watch over me, O God, for I take refuge in You... Or how about Paul's in Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may yet abound more and more in full knowledge and all perception, 10 for you to distinguish the things that differ, that you may be sincere and without blame for the day of Christ, 11 being filled with fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Some prayers have been combined with music which settles the soul’s yearning such as David’s cry after he acknowledged his sin with Bathsheba, Create in me a clean heart, Oh, Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and remove not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me, the joy of my salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

What glory shines from our faces and our lives when we exercise our faith by praying? It is well with the soul as one song declares, when we know Who is powerful enough to deliver us from our troubles. And if not deliverance, then we are sustained through them. God is pleased with our faith.
But the simple prayer of Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," is one of the greatest works of art of all time. The wonder and beauty of this plea from the cross in His darkest hour, and His deepest pain cannot be fathomed in a lifetime. This is our lesson. This is God’s pleasure that we forgive through faith as He forgives us.

So is there a gift from prayer? The joy that accompanies the presence of God, the forgiveness of God, and the peace from God seems to me like a gift that keeps on giving. What do you think?

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