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World peace tops prayer list in CofE survey

Date: 25 March 2013
World peace and an end to poverty topped the list of subjects people would pray about, according to a survey commissioned by the Church of England.

When asked what they would pray for in the ICM survey carried out earlier this month, 31 per cent of respondents cited peace in the world, followed by an end to poverty in the world (27 per cent), a family member (26 per cent) and healing for another (22 per cent).

In the survey, which canvassed 2, 015 people, 85 per cent of women cited something they would pray for, compared with 76 per cent of men. Those aged over 65 (89 per cent) and those between 18 and 24 (85 per cent) were the most ready to comment while the 35 and 40 age group were the least prepared at 75 per cent.

Five per cent said they did not know what they would pray for and 14 per cent said they would never pray.

The Bishop of Dorking the Rt Revd Ian Brackley said that while he welcomed the fact that people were happy to talk about what they would pray for it was important to remember that praying was fundamentally about listening to God.

He said: “Although I am heartened - and perhaps not surprised - that many people pray, this survey asked what people would pray for.

“Whilst it is clear that Jesus prayed for himself and his disciples, prayer is essentially about seeking God's will - what it is that He really wants of us and for us.

“So I believe prayer is not about a shopping list of wishes, or doing deals with God, using God. Rather we should lay our needs before God and then listen and wait upon God in faith and trust.

“God knows what is best for us. We need to find out what that might be and work with it.”

Anyone wishing to have their prayers prayed through by church groups and prayer communities across the Church of England can post them on the Church of England website, www.prayoneforme.org and its accompanying Facebook page www.facebook.com/prayoneforme. The site has seen more than 1,150 prayers posted in its first year and includes guidance on how to pray as well as information on the people who hold the contributions before God in prayer. Three in every ten people, asked what they would pray for, cited peace in the world and an end to poverty, reflecting the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, in his inauguration sermon, last week. Archbishop Justin said: “Let us provoke each other to heed the call of Christ, to be clear in our declaration of Christ, committed in prayer to Christ, and we will see a world transformed.” Asked what it would be for if they were to pray, 31 per cent of respondents cited peace in the world, followed by an end to poverty in the world (27 per cent), a family member (26 per cent) and healing for another (22 per cent). While 5 per cent said they did not know what they would pray for, 14 per cent said they would never pray. Women are more likely to pray than men, according to the survey, with 85 per cent of women citing something they would pray for, compared with 76 per cent of men. Those aged over 65 (89 per cent) and those between 18 and 24 (85 per cent) are the most likely to pray, while those between 35 and 40 (75 per cent) are the least likely. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith said: "Prayer is one of the most natural and instinctive of human responses, so I am not surprised to see these findings. I come across people on an almost daily basis who want to talk about prayer and how to do it. This has been even more evident recently, as many people are facing uncertainty about jobs and finance. However, there has also been a desire to pray for trouble spots in the world, not least when we see the appalling photos from Syria on the television." Holy Week is the period in the Church calendar when we remember, amongst other key moments in the last days of his life, Jesus being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, after spending time praying for himself, his disciples and all believers (John 17), and praying in the garden about the enormous task ahead of him, while His disciples fell asleep (Matthew 26:36-46). Other subjects for prayer cited in the survey were: 'my partner' (17%), 'less stress in my life' (16%), ‘a prayer of thankfulness’ (16%), 'prosperity' (16%), 'healing for myself' (15%), 'guidance' (15%), 'a friend' (13%), 'marriage or relationship' (12%), 'forgiveness' (10%), 'work' (9%), 'my spiritual life' (8%), 'my church' (4%), 'my studies' (3%), 'something else' (6%). Anyone wishing to have their prayers prayed through by church groups and prayer communities across the Church of England can post them on Pray One For Me, a Church of England website launched on Ash Wednesday 2012. The site has seen more than 1,150 prayers posted in its first year. The website www.prayoneforme.org, and its accompanying Facebook page at www.facebook.com/prayoneforme, include guidance on how to pray, and information on the people who hold the contributions before God in prayer.

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