Numbers of people from the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom have been reassessing their lives, turning to God, and praying more during the coronavirus pandemic, recent surveys have revealed.
In Australia, researchers have found individuals have been praying more during the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities in life, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Of 1002 people surveyed in July, more than 35% said they were praying more, 41% said they were thinking about God more than they had before, and up to 25% said they were reading the Bible more than they used to.
Almost half of the participants said they thought more about mortality and the meaning of life.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle told the SMH: “The research is showing that this COVID situation has rattled Australians and got them thinking about the big purpose of life. It’s got them re-prioritising their life.”
In March, a US-based national survey revealed that almost half of Americans believe the virus is a “wake-up call” from God.
The poll, which was commissioned by the Joshua Fund, an Israel-based evangelical organisation, found over 43% of Americans believe the global coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown is a sign of coming judgement and/or a wake-up call for us to turn back to faith in God.
Of the respondents, 25% of self-identified non-Christians agreed.
Almost 22% of all non-Christians responding to the poll admitted that the crisis has caused them to start reading the Bible and listening to Bible teaching and sermons online, while more than 29% of the respondents also believe the crisis reveals that “we are living in what the Bible calls the last days.”
The Pew Research Center released similar findings after surveying 11,537 Americans between March 19 and 24. According to the report, “more than half of all U.S. adults (55%) say they have prayed for an end to the spread of coronavirus.”
“Large majorities of Americans who pray daily (86%) and of U.S. Christians (73%) have taken to prayer during the outbreak — but so have some who say they seldom or never pray and people who say they do not belong to any religion (15% and 24%, respectively),” Pew Research reported.
The survey, conducted by Savanta ComRes, interviewed 2,244 UK adults aged 18-plus. The findings revealed 45% of 18 to 34-year-olds and 49% of 25 to 34-year-olds prayed more during the month of July. That figure rose to 55% in the month of August.
According to the Telegraph, Google data reveals the pandemic has prompted a surge of interest in God, with a 50% increase in searches for prayer.
In March 2020, the share of Google searches for prayer surged to the highest level ever recorded, surpassing all other major events that otherwise call for prayer, including Christmas and Easter.
Josh Williamson, pastor at Newquay Baptist Church said: “As the old saying goes, ‘there are no atheists in foxholes,’ and it also seems that is the case when a pandemic causes people to examine their own mortality.
“I’m not surprised that people are thinking about God as the reality of death looms large; deep down in all of us is the knowledge that God exists, but what happens is that people push down that knowledge by ignoring what is plainly known,” he said.
“A crisis has a way of bringing that knowledge back to the surface.”