So says the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. The last blog post suggested that UUs affirm the importance of religion but don’t practice it all that much–but that’s if you take group worship as your model. If you look at more individual practices, a different pattern emerges. A huge majority–77%–of Unitarian-Universalists answered that they engage in prayer. Naturally, the frequency ranges quite a bit, with the largest group (41%) praying daily, and a majority praying once a week or more (57%). Frequency of prayer can correlate somewhat to belief in the importance of prayer as a practice, but not fully–after all, some people only pray when they have something specific to pray about (such as an illness), which is not necessarily indicative of their overall feelings about prayer. Overall, 93% of Americans engage in some level of prayer.
What are all these UUs praying for, and what are the effects? Among those who reported praying with some frequency (i.e. the majority), about half reported receiving answers to specific prayers they had made, and about half did not. So many UUs are praying for specific things or about specific issues and having their prayers answered, while other are praying in a more generic fashion, without expectation of specific responses to their prayers.