A recent poll conducted by ComRes found that just over half of all adults in the UK say that they pray. A third of this group do their praying in a place of worship but the rest pray while engaged in other activities like walking, cleaning the house and travelling. Some worry about the apparent inconsistency between their praying habit and their declared agnosticism. Some wonder exactly why they’re doing it. But still they admit to praying.
Of course, this could be put down to superstition, hypocrisy, some sort of insurance cover or simply talking to oneself. But the finding really does not surprise me very much. It encourages me in my view that God’s good Spirit is active and moving like the wind, inviting response. That is how Jesus described it. He said the wind blows and you don’t know where it is coming from. You don’t know where it is going. But it is real and has effects. These prayers are perhaps a response to the great mystery of life.
I believe God’s Spirit moves in people's lives regardless of any overtly religious practice, in places which may seem most unpromising, and in ways which may be hard to fathom. Those of us who go to church and engage in regular spiritual practices should take care to see that we do not slip into believing that we have a monopoly on God’s attention. And we can be glad about that.