Church of England’s prayer apps used a record five million times, while attendance figures fall

The Church of England’s prayer apps have been used a record five million times in the past year while the number of Christians attending services has plummeted.

The figures, released today by the Church of England’s data team indicate that increasing numbers of people are using apps and social media to pray and reflect online. 

Researchers found that people have been accessing prayer apps more than five million times each year – a rise of almost half-a-million – and spend an average of eight minutes on the daily prayer app.  

However this comes as the number of congregants attending actual church services continues to fall.

Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, said following the publication of the data: “The digital figures show how people are using apps, smart speakers and social media to explore and engage in the Christian faith wherever they might be.

“Christians have been praying in the morning and evening offices for centuries and it is inspiring that this is available through new platforms and devices to meet the way people live now.

“The Church’s digital innovation is enabling people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that weren’t previously possible alongside regular Sunday worship and at significant moments such as Christmas and Easter.”

Apps allowing users to pray the ancient ‘Daily Office’ of morning, evening and night prayer

were used 4.2 million times on Apple devices alone in the last 12 months, an increase of 446,000 on the year before, new figures show.

Figures for Android devices show an increase from 855,600 to an estimated 966,000, bringing the predicted total across both operating systems to more than five million.

People spent an average of eight minutes on the Daily Prayer app, one of various digital platforms offered by the Church of England in a bid to attract more believers.

The trend comes as church attendances continue to fall across the UK, with the average weekly number of adults and children going to Sunday service declining by 15% from 2008 to 2018.

There were 1.12 million regular worshippers at Church of England churches in 2018, its latest statistics show. 

The Daily Prayer app literally leads people through the CofE’s liturgy for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer, with prayers readings etc so the length of time people would spend in a session would largely depend on how long they spend reading and praying their way through it.

Written by:  Gabriella Swerling

First published 17.10.19:

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