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Study Shows Even Non-Religious Americans Are Turning to Prayer as a Result of COVID-19

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A new poll from Pew Research Center reveals that the COVID-19 outbreak is changing Americans' religious habits, drawing more people to the power of prayer.  

More than half of all US adults have prayed for the coronavirus to end, including people who say they rarely pray and those who don't belong to a religion.

Americans who are feeling the impact from COVID-19 have revealed that their religious practices have changed as a result of the pandemic.

The poll shows that 55 percent of people overall in the US are praying for God to end the outbreak. That number includes 86 percent of the Americans who already pray daily, along with 15 percent of the people who rarely pray but have now started praying because of the coronavirus.

And more research shows it's not just in the US. There's been a huge global spike in prayer interest over the last month. "Google searches on prayer...skyrocketed during the month of March 2020 when the COVID-19 went global," writes Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen. 

In a recent commentary published by the Wall Street Journal, Robert Nicholson, president of the Philos Project, wrote about the possibility of a new Great Awakening coming out of the coronavirus crisis.

Nicholson mentioned that people in the past also relied on their faith to help them overcome global crises, like the devastation caused by World War II. Millions of people died as a result of that war and "Americans, chastened by the horrors of war, turned to faith in search of truth and meaning," Nicholson wrote, citing the evidence of three-fourths of Americans joining a house of worship.

As the world recognizes the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, Nicholson reflects on the notion of people drawing closer to God as we begin to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Could a rogue virus lead to a grand creative moment in America's history? Will Americans, shaken by the reality of a risky universe, rediscover the God who proclaimed himself sovereign over every catastrophe?" asked Nicholson.

For now, American believers are trying to adapt to the loss of their ability to gather together. Americans who were attending church services or religious activities several times a week have been forced to decrease their involvement due to the virus.

With in-person worship services being canceled, 59 percent of people reported that they have restricted their participation in religious services altogether. 

But Pew data revealed that 57 percent of people have shifted to watching religious services online rather than attending them in-person. And, four-in-ten regular churchgoers appear to have replaced in-person services with online worshipping.

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