According the to the Pew Forum, at least 75% of Americans pray at least once a week. Despite the large numbers of individuals praying, only 39% of Americans attend worship services at least once a week. This disparity, led New York Times contributor Zev Chafets to examine the growth of organizations offering lessons in praying. Chafets investigates the options available to those who do not belong to a denomination yet would like to pray properly. As Chafets sees it, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism used to offer unique forms of worship through prayer, but the 20th century complicated religious practice. A combination of intradenominational theological shifts, “do-it-yourself spirituality” and popular culture, according Chafets, radically altered church life, and thus prayer life, in America. He sees an increased interest in ecumenism and universality amid firm commitments to sectarianism in American prayer culture. Chafets’ experiences and analysis are featured in the New York Times‘ Sunday Magazine. Click here to read more. To review the Pew Forum’s findings, click here.
Phenomenology of Religion
By Thomas Ryba , University of Notre Dame & Purdue University
(Vol. 4, March 2009)
On Spirituality: Natural and Non-natural
By Thomas B. Ellis, Appalachian State University
(Vol. 3, October 2008)