Daily prayer and Bible-reading are vital aspects of spiritual life for evangelical Christians but a significant number of them have admitted to having problems making time for both, according to a report released today by the Evangelical Alliance.
While 90 per cent say they do regularly read the Bible, more than six out of 10 do not set aside a substantial period of time each day to pray. People’s busy lives mean many pray and read the Bible on the go. They have turned to technology to help them in their spiritual walk, with a third using Bible apps to help them. Daily devotional apps or the recently launched Book of Common Prayer app are also popular.
Kim Knappett, a teacher from London, told the Alliance that in her busy lifestyle she and her Bible app are inseparable.
“Thank to Bible apps, I have read more of the Bible in the past three years than for most of my life before. Using new technology has definitely helped to strengthen my relationship with God.”
The Evangelical Alliance’s new report Time for discipleship? also found that people’s faith grows as they spend time with other Christians, whether through church, small groups or festivals. However, only four in 10 feel their church does very well at discipling new Christians, and many do not feel they have been equipped to share their faith and bring others to Christ. The majority also said they were easily distracted when spending time with God.
Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, said that the findings of this survey are significant for churches, helping them to recognise the challenges their congregations are facing and the need to support Christians in today’s busy culture.
“It's encouraging to see that the majority of evangelical Christians are determined not to let the daily pressures of time get between them and God. Even so, we should be aware of how easily we can be distracted, and how we need to be intentional about our growth as Christians. Our discipleship is critically important, and I hope the report findings will inspire church leaders to consider how they can support busy people to be disciples of Christ," he added.
Younger Christians were more likely to say that they often struggle with despair and anxiety, and more of them value the support of a personal mentor. They also have lower prayer levels and are half as likely to read their Bible daily compared to older people.
Self-centredness and judgmental attitudes were the two major temptations that respondents say they struggle with daily.
The Alliance, which represents more than 750 organisations and two million evangelical Christians in 3,500 churches across 79 denominations in UK, conducts quarterly surveys to provide a snapshot of Christian life in order to support church leaders in mission.
The Time for discipleship? report is available at www.eauk.org/discipleship from today, along with videos of Christian leaders reflecting on the findings.