A new survey shows that only 16 percent of pastors nationwide are very satisfied with their personal prayer life. Almost half, according to the survey, are only "somewhat satisfied" with that element of their spiritual life.
The survey, conducted by Ellison Research, asked ministers about their personal prayer lives, including what they pray about and how much time they spend praying. According to the survey, the average pastor spends 39 minutes praying every day -- but 21 percent spend 15 minutes or less per day in prayer.
Other findings: younger pastors are less satisfied than are older pastors with their prayer lives; and Methodist pastors tend to be somewhat more satisfied, while Presbyterian ministers are much less satisfied.
Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, says the study also shows what drives a satisfying prayer life for pastors.
"Pastors who are highly satisfied with their prayer lives were a lot more likely to pray for things that are kind of 'big picture' types of things rather than just their own life, their own congregation, their own church, their own community," Sellers explains.
"They were praying for things such as persecuted Christians in other countries, global events such as war and famine, their denomination as a whole, our country as a whole, national Christian leaders, national political leaders, overseas missions."
According to the researcher, the survey of clergy also offers insights for other believers.
"Ministers have given us a roadmap for what works, for what is fulfilling and satisfying to them in their own prayer lives," he says. "Spend more time in prayer, pray for things and pray about things that are much bigger than just your own little needs, your own community, your own church; and also, spend more time listening and less time asking."
Such things, he believes, provide a model for all Christians as to what defines a satisfactory prayer life.
Results of the study are being published in the latest edition of Facts and Trends magazine, which is distributed by LifeWay Christian Resources. Details of the study also are available online at the Ellison Research website.
Ellison Research (www.ellisonresearch.com)
© 2005, Agape Press