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Survey: How long do you pray?

A poll conducted by City Square Associates for Skylight and released in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer (May 4, 2023), discovered that 61% of Americans pray daily, averaging nearly 20 minutes, the Christian Post reports

There was nearly an even split among the 1,700 people surveyed between when they prayed with 50% stating they have a prayer time in the morning and 55% said they prayed in the evening, just before bedtime.

The uneven split of the percentages suggests that some obviously prayed at both times. We know that the prophet Daniel prayed and praised God three times a day, so multiple prayer times during the day are not unheard of (Daniel 6:10).

Considering the favorite prayer times were early in the morning or late at night, it is not surprising that 81% of the respondents said that they most often prayed in their bedrooms.

But what was surprising was that cars, at 61%, were the second favorite spot for prayer.

But this makes sense considering that Jesus was often looking for a quiet place, away from disciples and crowds, where He could pray:

Mark reports the time Jesus left Simon and Andrew’s home early in the morning for just such a time.

35 And in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and prayed there for a time. (Mark 1:35 NASV)

So in our busy lives a car would equally serve as a place of solitude for prayer.

The survey also determined that people who prayed spent an average of 18 minutes in prayer.

Maybe you pray more or less, but the Bible does not say a lot about how long we should pray.

In fact when it came to prayer, Jesus actually emphasized quality over quantity:

“And when you are praying, do not use thoughtless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. (Matthew 6:7 NASV)

While we may think length gets us more brownie points with God, in fact, it may not.

When we look at some great prayers of the Bible, which changed the course of history, many were literally uttered in a matter of a few seconds.

When God wanted to judge Israel because of their sin and unbelief and start over with the descendants of Moses, his intercession on behalf of the nation lasted three verses (Deuteronomy 9:26-29) and could have conceivably been uttered in under 60 seconds.

And one of the longest prayers recorded in the Bible, Jesus’ high priestly prayer recorded in John 17, was around three minutes long.

The point I am making is that we may put off prayer because we can’t set aside a decent amount of time for it, but I wonder if short prayers are preferable to none at all.

READ: 61 Percent of Americans Pray, Poll Shows: It’s More Common ‘Than People Expect’

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