Catholics pray to God to forgive their sins, to help victims of natural disasters, and to offer thanks for good things that have happened to them.
And 20 percent pray for their favorite sports teams.
Those are some of the findings of a new survey from LifeWay Research in Nashville, which conducts polls and provides educational and worship resources for Christian churches. The survey also found that most Catholics say they pray at least daily, and the vast majority of those prayers are about issues that directly affect their own lives.
Among other results from the survey: A little less than half, 48 percent, of all Americans pray each day. Fifty-four percent of Catholics pray daily or several times a day, while 13 percent say they never pray.
“Most people pray when they need the red phone for help,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement. “But their prayer life isn’t a habit rooted in a relationship with God.”
A vast majority of Catholics, 86 percent, believe that all, most, or some of their prayers are answered, and 13 percent say they don’t know.
Around a third of all Catholics surveyed say they typically pray for their “own sin,” as well as giving thanks for “good things happening” and for victims of natural disasters. Just 6 percent of Catholics report praying regularly for government officials and 13 percent for people of other faiths.
When it comes to those who wish them harm, 28 percent of Catholics say they have prayed for their enemies and 40 percent for those who have “mistreated” them.
Nine percent of Catholics say they have prayed for something bad to happen to someone else, and 14 percent say they have prayed to “avenge hurt.”
Protestants and nondenominational Christians are more likely, 61 percent, to pray for the “good things that have recently occurred” than Catholics, at 39 percent.
Vast majorities of both Protestants and other Christians, 85 percent, and Catholics, 75 percent, say they pray for family or friends, and just 6 percent of Catholics say they pray for government leaders.
Just over a third of all Americans “pray for their future prosperity.”
The survey was conducted Aug. 7 with 1,137 people.