Corporate Prayer “Performs Poorly” Claims New Study

PrayerRequest

UPDATE: Just to be clear… this is a parody. The intended target is revealed at the end

Prayer in church has long been considered painfully dull, but new research suggests it’s also “largely ineffective.” The study of 300 intercessors from 14 denominations found that the majority of church pray-ers performed poorly across a range of indicators. More than 80% of congregants reported moderate to severe mind-wandering, with 47% of all church-goers unable to recall more than one prayer-point from the Sunday service.

“This trend of high-distraction / low-retention is obviously unacceptable in today’s information age”, so said Dag Branstrom a process analyst from KPMG and the report’s author. “In terms of participation rates and in terms of the clarity and brevity of communication, church prayers compare unfavourably to other forms of data transfer.”

The report advocates for a major overhaul of church services, even mooting the complete elimination of prayers from the worship service.

“Clearly there are more efficient ways of generating prayer” said Branstrom. “For too long churches have invested in methods which evidence disappointing consumer buy-in.”

Nigel Fairweather, the Archbishop’s Cultural Engagement and Faith Journeys Advisor, embraced the findings. “These are exciting times for missional communities. For too long we have been in thrall to oppressive and monological methods of prayer – no doubt a hangover from Constantinian power-plays. Finally the research proves what we’ve suspected all along: prayer isn’t working, we need to try something new. I can’t wait to see where the Spirit leads next.”

For similar analysis of church practices, see SERMONS – NOT HOW WE LEARN BEST?

Posted on by Glen in preaching

About Glen

I’m a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

8 Responses to Corporate Prayer “Performs Poorly” Claims New Study

  1. the Old Adam

    There could be no more clear example of the “Theologians of Glory” than the folks who came up with that study.

  2. Glen

    Hey OldAdam,
    The “prayer study” above is totally fictional – it’s my parody of modern studies that find preaching ineffective as a method of information transfer.

  3. Cal

    The link you parodied might be more compelling if it spent more time with a biblical critique than 2/3 of the work talking about modern psychological trending, and new learning methods.

    Of course, some treat preaching as a lecture or bible/word study. It’s a pendulum swing in the other direction.

  4. Joyce

    Hilarious. I think it needs a pie chart though.

  5. Glen

    Yes Cal, the great problem is that so many preaching think of preaching precisely in those “information transfer” terms. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised when people conclude there are more efficient ways for the transfer to take place.

    Joyce – trust me I wanted to go to town with a whole fake Powerpoint presentation, but it was getting late and, as it is, far too many people have taken it seriously without adding to its potential credibility.

  6. Brian Midmore

    In the intercessions in the Anglican communion service occur at about halfway through the service. This reminds us that prayer is central to the life of the church. They are most effective when the intercessor has prepared the prayers prayerfully and is able to gather the congregation with him or her in true prayer to God in the Spirit. If the prayers aren’t remembered by the church at least they should be heard by God.

  7. Glen

    Amen Brian. And I think the same can be said of preaching – it’s a worshipful act (and many other things) before it’s anything to do with “data transfer”

  8. Brian Midmore

    Paul’s teaching on tongues seems relevant. Tongues are firstly worship 1 Cor 14.2 but should also purvey information to the hearers v13. So too corporate prayer is primarily worship but it does need the microphone turned on to engage others intellectually and spiritually.

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