The COVID-19 pandemic casts a long shadow. Fewer people are going out, more people are working from home, and most of us are tirelessly crossing off items on our Netflix to-watch lists.
Sure, most people are spending more time eating snacks and less time commuting, but that’s far from the only pandemic-initiated lifestyle trend. As we all hold our breath and watch it all play out, some other, much more profound changes have been materializing.
At Faith Strong Today, we’re always looking to provide Christians with hope, insight, and up-to-date information on the international Christian community, which is why our ears perked up when a study detailing the impact of COVID-19 on religiosity began circulating online.
Jeanet Sinding Bentzen from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark published a preliminary draft of a paper entitled “In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic,” on March 30th. Among other things, the paper established a significant link between the number of registered COVID-19 cases and the pursuit of religious teachings and practices. From the study:
“I document that Google searches on prayer has skyrocketed during the month of March 2020 when the COVID-19 went global. Using daily data on internet searches for prayer for 75 countries, I find that search intensity for prayer doubles for every 80,000 new registered cases of COVID-19.”
Bentzen furthers her hypothesis by concluding the abstract of the paper with a mantra that FST subscribers know well, “we pray to cope with adversity.”
Google searches for prayer are far from the only faith-based activity on the rise. One look at the current sales figures for Bibles will tell you that. Those have grown substantially since the onset of COVID-19.
Jim Jewell, an executive at Tyndale House Publishers, recently sat down with The Christian Post and described a 44% increase in sales of their Life Application Study Bible and a 60% increase in the sale of their Immerse Bible.
He also notices a dramatic increase in social media activity on the publisher’s various Facebook accounts. Jewell said that “engagement was triple what it was last March and up 72% from just last month.”
It’s safe to say that our collective inability to attend church services hasn’t been getting in the way of our collective faith. Millions of people all over the world are still turning to Jesus for reassurance, hope and guidance in these unprecedented times.
Time and again, the Word is established as a beacon of light, one that persists even in the darkest of times. May it continue to bring you and your family comfort.