Americans say they pray for forgiveness more than petitioning
The Christian Science Monitor has a fascinating survey of "How America Prays." Most Americans — 58 percent — strongly agree "that prayer can have a positive impact on national or world events." Another 38 percent somewhat agree, and only 11 percent disagree.

"By praying, Americans are doing what they can to make the world a better, safer place," says Raghavan Mayur, president of TIPP, the company that actually conducted the poll (pdf).

When they pray, it seems they do not pray as the Pharisees do. The most common form of prayer, the 914 Americans surveyed said, is seeking guidance, which 62 percent of respondents say is a reason they pray. The next two on the list — at 54 percent each — are showing gratitude and praising God. Then comes asking forgiveness (47%), seeking deeper understanding (46%), seeking healing (45%) and asking for something (43%).

When it comes to actually praying for national or world events, 71 percent said they have prayed for peace, 49 percent said they prayed about terrorism, and 45 percent said they prayed for national and world leaders. The poll has many other interesting findings as well.

Leighton Ford: Islam is not evil
"It is not helpful, I am convinced, and indeed harmful to our own faith, for us to make blanket condemnations of other religions," evangelist Leighton Ford writes in Monday's Charlotte Observer. "A religion which was totally 'evil' would appeal only to sociopaths. … The religious quest is part of our common response to the wonder and tragedy of life, and to the homing call of our Creator. And insofar as 'religion' is a human response, any religion can be distorted and used for selfish and even evil purposes."

Ford's column ...

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