*”Prayer is not easy,” the spiritual writer Henri Nouwen constantly reminded his readers.

Hearing what he called “the still, small voice of love” amid the cacophony of secular voices calling for attention needs special effort: “It requires solitude, silence and a strong determination to listen.”

The Internet has not made the spiritual life any easier.

Christian clergy are keeping pace with technological advances, a trend that should only grow stronger as a younger, more wired generation takes their place in pulpits, according to a new study.

Ninety-five percent of Christian clergy use the Internet at least weekly, and more than three in four send e-mails to worshipers once a week or more, according to the latest wave of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey.

Younger clergy and mainline Protestant pastors are the most active online, with Catholic clergy the least likely to be found surfing the net for religious or other purposes, Ida Smith-Williams reported to the recent annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association in Baltimore.

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