Proof: Prayer and Scripture Reading Matters

Photo by Angello Lopez

I’'ve been reading through Christian Smith’s new book, Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults, in which he and his research team follow the 13-17 year-olds they studied in the National Study of Youth and Religion as they moved into emerging adulthood, defined as ages 18-23 for this study.

One of the interesting findings:  Teenagers who prayed and read Scripture had a more robust faith as emerging adults. That’s true even when you control for the strength of the teenagers’ faith.

So it’s not just that more dedicated kids read Scripture and pray, so therefore they stay dedicated.  There’s something about the activities of Scripture reading and prayer that lead to deeper faith in kids.

I notice these days a swing away from what can become the legalism of daily devotions.  That’s probably a good thing, but I see in my own life the difference in my intimacy with Jesus when I’m reading Scripture and praying, and when I’m not.  This research shows that difference in intimacy is true for your students too—not just now, but in their futures.