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U.S. Protestant Evangelism: Many Pray, Fewer Follow Through

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U.S. Protestants are faithful in praying for opportunities to share their faith, but they are less inclined to actually do so, according to a LifeWay Research report published April 23.

A strong majority (73%) of respondents pray once a month or more for opportunities to evangelize, with 56% doing so at least once a week and 23% daily.

Similarly, 86% said they pray at least monthly for people they know are not Christians, with 71% doing so weekly and 32% each day.

Despite widespread fervent prayer, a majority (55%) have not shared their faith with anyone in the past six months.

Of the 54% of respondents who evangelized during this time frame, 24% did so once or twice, 12% three to five times and 9% six or more times.

Competency doesn’t seem to be a factor in these trends, with 84% of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “I feel comfortable that I can share my belief in Christ to someone else effectively.”

Intentionality could explain the disparity between prayer and action. When asked if they regularly “seek opportunities to speak out about Jesus Christ,” 51% strongly or somewhat agreed, while 27% neither agreed or disagreed and 22% somewhat or strongly disagreed.

“Jesus never promised the Great Commission would be completed quickly, but he set the expectation that the efforts to reach all nations with his gospel should be continuous,” observed Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, in a press release announcing the report’s findings. “Many in church today appear to be distracted from Jesus’ final command.”

The survey’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 2%. The full report is available here.