NCLS Research

Private devotional activities of attenders

“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 NRSV.

Most attenders engage in private devotional activities such as reading the Bible alone and intentional times of prayer every day, most days, or a few times a week. Not surprisingly those who have high levels of private devotional activity are also most likely to be growing in their faith. It is interesting that of those who experienced much growth in their faith over the year prior to the survey, only 13% considered that their private devotional activities were chiefly responsible. When faced with a forced choice, 18% chose their growth as occurring chiefly though their local church rather than their own activities. The sharpening of the iron of faith appears to be achieved best against the iron of community. Perhaps one of the most significant aspects for this to occur may be between older and younger attenders. Younger attenders are more likely to be dissatisfied with their devotional life while older attenders, who are more likely to set aside regular times for prayer and reflection are more likely to be satisfied. Older attenders may be able to provide wise guidance to more youthful attenders in this regard.

Source: Taking Stock, 1999

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