Americans pray for their friends, families and sometimes their enemies.

They ask for divine help in times of trouble but rarely praise God’s greatness. And they seldom add politicians, nonbelievers or even their favorite sports team to their prayer lists, according to a new survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

“Most people pray when they need the red phone for help,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But their prayer life isn’t a habit rooted in a relationship with God.”

The online survey, conducted Aug.7, 2014, asked 1,137 Americans about the frequency and content of their prayers.

Among the findings:

Most Prayers Are Personal.

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When they pray, most Americans (82 percent) typically focus on their friends and family or their own problems (74 percent). Just over half (54 percent) pray about good things happening in their life, while over a third pray for their future prosperity (36 percent)

Discussion: What Americans Really Pray For  was originally published on

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