New Studies Link Improved Mental Health to Use of Digitally-Delivered Faith and Prayer

Sponsored by PRAY.COM in Partnership with Credentialed Research Scientists and Institutions

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As the No. 1 app for daily prayer, PRAY.COM recently partnered with credentialed researchers to study the benefits of digitally-delivered faith and prayer for mental health and well-being. The published results suggest a positive correlation between app usage and decreased anxiety, stress and depression. This is good news at a time when people are more interconnected digitally than in-person, yet approximately 26% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“We are driven by a mission to grow faith and cultivate community. As a result, we believe it is important to conduct research regarding PRAY.COM as a practical, easy-to-use prayer resource to combat the ongoing mental health pandemic,” said Founder and CEO Steve Gatena. “We know there is a correlation between prayer and improved mental health and were excited to see positive mental health results with use of the PRAY.COM app. We hope this will encourage the scientific community to further examine the impact spiritual health can have on mental and physical health, an area of research that has been largely overlooked.”

Dr. Jennifer Huberty, former Director of Science at Calm, who recently joined PRAY.COM as Fractional Chief Science Advisor, led the company’s research efforts in partnership with Dr. Todd Hall, a professor of psychology at Biola University and a faculty affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program; Dr. Joshua Hook, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas; and Dr. Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Associate Professor of Psychology at Hope College. 

“As a Chief Science Officer, I help companies integrate science to provide evidence for their product and enhance innovation and credibility,” Huberty said. “PRAY.COM is committed to having a product that improves lives and I am happy to advise the science of their ongoing pursuit.”

Three studies were conducted, beginning with a cross-sectional survey of current subscribers of PRAY.COM. The results of this study, as published recently in the Journal of Religion and Health, showed that many individuals engaged with the app not only to grow spiritually, many also reported engaging with the app for mental and physical health concerns. Of those who came to PRAY.COM for a specific health outcome, high levels of significant to extreme improvements were reported, including:

  • STRESS: 74% of respondents reported significant to extreme improvements
  • ANXIETY: 69% reported significant to extreme improvements 
  • DEPRESSION: 60% reported significant to extreme improvements
  • SLEEP: 94% of PRAY.COM subscribers who responded to the scientific survey reported significant to extreme improvements for sleep.

“It is very exciting and long overdue that we have a study that confirms what many in the world already know—the power of prayer—and mobile prayer applications can have a significant impact for mental health and wellness,” said Craig DeRoche, CEO of the Family Policy Alliance. “In 2023, with 50,000 taking their own lives in America, we lost more people to suicide than ever before. The crisis is real and growing—especially for those suffering from addiction and behavioral health challenges. As our nation continues to look at all viable options to address this crisis we are very excited about what digital prayer applications, like, can do to help so many people like me when they are in crisis, and when they just wish to grow more spiritually.”

The second study entailed an assessment of PRAY.COM’s impact on moderately to severely stressed adults in an 8-week randomized controlled trial. Those who spent more time on the app reported greater reductions in mental health symptoms than participants who spent less time on the app. More specifically, the number of days spent using the app was related to reductions in stress, anxiety, depression and burnout, as well as increased mindfulness, measured at two months. This study is scheduled to be published in the journal “Spirituality in Clinical Practice” later this month.

A third study related specifically to people who identify with a racial or ethnic minority group, focusing on the feasibility of PRAY.COM as a tool to improve mental health and well-being and to better understand how different racial or ethnic groups interact with and benefit from PRAY.COM. The results were positive suggesting PRAY.COM is feasible and may be a tool to improve mental health symptoms in racial or ethnic groups, as published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Formative Research earlier this year. 

“We are excited to share this foundational research exploring the impact of the faith- and prayer-based digital advancement, PRAY.COM,” said research scientist Breanne Laird, MS.  “I look forward to continuing our investigation into how engagement with PRAY.COM may positively impact the mental health and well-being of its users.”

As the first religious mental health and wellness app to do so, PRAY.COM’s purpose in these studies is to drive scientific insight into the impact digitally-delivered faith and prayer has on mental health and to use its findings to raise more awareness of ways to strengthen mental health by practicing the healthy habit of frequent prayer.


Founded in 2016 with a mission to grow faith and cultivate community, PRAY.COM is the world’s No. 1 app for daily prayer and Bible-based audio content. Reaching more than 16 million people worldwide through its mobile app and website, PRAY.COM is the easiest way to incorporate prayer into your daily life. PRAY.COM provides encouragement and inspiration through daily devotionals, pastor podcasts and Bedtime Bible Stories. PRAY.COM founders are Steve Gatena, Michael Lynn, Ryan Beck and Matthew Potter. See more at www.PRAY.COM/discover

Source: PRAY.COM