The Rushmore Report: How Many People Pray Before Meals?

How many people pray before their meals? Is this old-fashioned practice still done anymore? Outside of the Bible belt and the most devout among us, does anyone really take time to pray before they eat? The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation came together to conduct a national poll. They surveyed rural and urban Americans, Northerners and Southerners, Democrats and Republicans, and Catholics and Protestants.

The poll showed that people from all those groups prayed before meals to at least some degree. Even some Americans who do not believe in organized religion still say grace, the study found.

According to the poll, 48 percent of all Americans say a prayer before meals at least a few times each week. In rural and urban America, 51 percent pray before meals. In the suburbs, 45 percent pray before meals regularly.

Among Republicans, 62 percent pray at least a few times a week, while 43 percent of Democrats say grace a few times a week. Among Independents, the number is 41 percent.

About 60 percent of Protestants pray before meals a few times a week, while 52 percent of Catholics do, according to the poll.

“It’s a powerful way of reminding yourself that you are not self-sufficient, that you are living by somebody’s grace, that plenty of other people who work just as hard as you don’t have anything to eat,” said Tim Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

About the Author

Amanda Casanova writes for Religion Today.

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