How Often Do Members Pray?


Stephen Cranney and Josh Coates

This is one of a series of posts discussing results from a recent survey of current and former Latter-day Saints conducted by the BH Roberts Foundation. The technical details are in the full methodology report here.

How often do members pray? This is one of those standard questions that are in most religion surveys and many generalist surveys. Still, the problem with virtually all such surveys is that the Latter-day Saint sample is too small to derive reliable estimates from. However, the Cooperative Election Study is one of the few surveys that has both a prayer question, an affiliation question, and a large enough sample overall that even the Latter-day Saint subset is pretty big (relatively speaking, N=706). This sample was used in this piece for the Deseret News on how people who don’t go to Church much also don’t pray much. 

By comparing our results with the CES’ we can be even more sure of our estimates since it’s essentially a “in the mouths of two or three surveys” situation. So what do the numbers say? 

First, the questions are worded somewhat differently, and this can be important: 

CES: People practice their religion in different ways. Outside of attending religious services, how often do you pray?

2023CFLDS: About how often do you pray alone? 

Also, as seen below, the response options are different, and some of the categories that sort of fit together are yielding different results. Still the overall picture is remarkably similar. 

  • About half of members indicate that they pray “several times a day,”
  • About 15% pray once a day. 
  • Never-praying members are very small minorities in each case (single digits).

Overall, the typical member appears to have very vibrant prayer lives, at least as measured by prayer frequency.  


4 comments for “How Often Do Members Pray?

  1. You hit a nerve….seems so silly to me that the church has a command for members to pray twice a day, both morning and night. They actually call it a commandment on the church website. (71% sure) Should I walk so many steps on the sabbath too?

    Why would the church survey not ask if they pray twice a day like they ask members to do? That might skew the results as well, meaning half the “several times a day” are just the “2-a-dayers” that didn’t have that choice to respond to.

    I think prayer is about the best oil you can fuel your lamp with so 50% is an track…

  2. I believe the commandment to pray is actually to pray “always” and “without ceasing” and to “counsel with the Lord in all thy doings.”

  3. I am not aware of a commandment to pray twice a day, morning and night. I know some church leaders have encouraged such, and maybe even taught it as a commandment, but I’m with Wizard.

    General conference encouragements and admonitions should not be interpreted and enforced as commandments from God.

  4. General conference encouragements and admonitions should not be interpreted and enforced as commandments from God.

    Amen ji !!

    I heard recently in a talk or lesson or ? the “morning and night prayers” thing and it stuck in my mind as silly. Seems like I read it was considered a commandment by the church. Could be wrong.

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