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What Do You Do When All Else Fails?

As America grapples with the prospect of a double-dip recession and millions of families struggle with unemployment, there’s a whole lot of finger pointing going on.

Justin Pumfrey | Taxi | Getty Images

Do we need more economic stimulus? Or is it time to stop spending money and let the market sort it out?

As it turns out, a good portion of America is handling it the same way: They’re praying … a lot.

One quarter of Americans surveyed recently by Baylor University(which is a Christian school, by the way) said they pray or meditate several times a day. Not surprisingly, entrepreneurs, who have been among the hardest hit by this economy, pray more than the rest. One in three entrepreneurs said they pray or meditate several times a day.

It’s an age-old fallback — when all else fails, you pray.

Why do you think such a staggering number of people find God in prison? Or why Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, when America turned on him and the other banks, declared that he was “doing God’s work?” Heck, when Harrisburg, PA found itself in financial crisis, that was the mayor’s move— to go on a three-day fast-and-prayer campaign. And it’s no coincidence that the frontrunner in the GOP presidential race is Rick Perry, a candidate who has had massive public prayer sessions where they “pray for our economy!”and “pray for jobs!”

Yes, it appears that we have reached that time in the economic cycle ... to pray.

“These are unsettling times,” said F. Carson Menchen, director of the Baylor Religion Survey and a professor of sociology. “In the last three years, Americans have experienced the financial and real estate crises, recession, unemployment … political turmoil” and more, he said.

Through it all, the “American Dream” has survived — but with a little help from above.

Most respondents in the Baylor survey said they believe that “anything is possible for those who work hard” and that “success is achieved by ability rather than luck.” A whopping 73 percent said they think God has a plan for them.

Worry a lot? Turns out, you’re not alone: 17 percent of Americans are chronic worriers, according to the survey. Interestingly, those who did not attend religious services or read religious texts were MORE prone to being chronic worriers.

You know what world needs now? A little Beebs:

I don’t know about you, but I feel better.

Pony Treats:

Cleanse Your Soul. Praying for jobs? Praying for the economy? Here are 10 prayers to recession-proof our souls.

Prayer Group Wisdom. Everybody, quiet! Everybody, Jesus says, "Shut up!"


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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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