ISRAEL - Only 27% of Israelis Pray Daily

Arno Froese

Only 27% of Israelis pray daily, while in the average country 49% of people pray daily, according to a Pew Study comparing prayer and wealth published in May. Israel is unsurprisingly an outlier when looking at Middle Eastern trends; it is both wealthier and its citizens pray less than all the other Middle Eastern/North African countries studied, including Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria.

The study predominantly follows a trend where countries that have lower GDPs per capita, such as Afghanistan, also have higher rates of daily prayer; in this case close to 100%. While studies like this can and do experience response bias, where participants answer untruthfully for a variety of different reasons such as social pressure etc., the trend is rather consistent. This is true for the reverse as well. Countries, such as Norway, with extremely high GDPs have low rates of prayer. Of those surveyed in Norway, 18% pray daily.

However, [the] United States is one of the biggest outliers. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet 55% of the population prays daily. The data however does not include wealthy countries in the Arabian Peninsula such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which would be expected to have high prayer levels.

To explain the discrepancy with the US, the report says that some scholars believe that the lack of interference by the government on religion has allowed for an open religious ‘market,’ where religions compete for members. The high levels of prayer are also attributed to the income inequality within the US, where those poorer pray more and vice versa., 6 May 2019

Arno's commentary

This study indicates that Muslims are the ones who pray the most, and the super-rich countries pray the least. The United States seems to be an exception among the rich countries. But in general, it shows that prayer does not affect a nation significantly. One must, however, realize that this prayer has little to no relationship to Biblical prayer. Note the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:6-7: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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