Categories: Apologetics & Theology

Non-believers call on God when faced with a crisis - despite insisting they're not religious

Alex Green | January 14, 2018

(Daily Mail) – A new survey has revealed that one in four non-believers pray when confronted by tough times - despite insisting they are not religious. 

For atheists and agnostics, personal crisis or tragedy is the most common reason for them to resort to prayer, with a quarter admitting they pray for comfort or to feel less lonely. 

Church attendance in the Great Britain dropped from 6.5 million to just over 3 million between 1980 and 2015, according to the website Faith Survey.


Of all British atheists and agnostics, a quarter admit they pray for comfort or to feel less lonely (stock image - Shutterstock / R.Daniluk)

However, more than half of all adults in the UK pray regularly despite only one in three praying in a place of worship, according to a poll carried out by ComRes on behalf of the Christian aid agency, Tearfund. 

A third of people pray in the morning or before they go to sleep. People are also increasingly likely to solicit support from God while cooking or exercising.

And one in five pray while doing household chores while 15 per cent pray while they commute. 

However, of those who pray less than half think God actually hears them - a slim majority.

Of the varied subjects of prayers, family tops the list. More than 70 per cent of prayers mention family.

A strong 42 per cent of prayers thanked God, while 40 per cent asked for healing and another 40 per cent included mention of friends.


More than half of all adults in the UK pray regularly despite only one in three praying in a place of worship, according to a poll by ComRes for Christian aid agency, Tearfund (stock image - Shutterstock / Ozgur Guvenc)

'We should not be surprised by these recent findings, which reflect human longing for the mystery and love of God amid experiences of daily life,' told Rachel Treweek, bishop of Gloucester to The Guardian.

Chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury, Isabelle Hamley, said prayer is 'primarily a line of communication with God – thinking, reflecting, bringing one's concerns and worries into a bigger picture.'

Ruth Valerio of Tearfund suggested prayer was still important to the lives of people in the UK. 

She said: 'While it is often easier to pray for issues closer to home, we want to encourage people to continue to engage with global issues and pray for an end to extreme poverty.'