Imo, the rise of "mindfulness" being trendy in the workplace and such, may have something to do with decreases of people practicing prayerful meditation and quiet reflection on their own...
Meditation is not a fad.
As I said, prayer is NOT the same as meditation. In mediation you are not attempting to communicate with a higher power per se... you are relaxing and communicating with yourself and increasing your awareness of your underlying connection and relationship to Nature and the Universe Itself(which you could call a higher power). Meditation is not something "trendy" and new. New to the West maybe.
Meditation has been practiced for over 2000 years.
Mindful Based Stress Reduction as taught by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center is western interpretation of a very old tradition and is now a common form of complementary medicine taught in a way that is useful in addressing a variety of health problems. It has been proven to be useful in achieving greater awareness of the unity of your mind and body. Also useful in understanding the ways and depths of unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can undermine your emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
In this type of meditation you generally do not contemplate anything other than your own breathing (to start) and you learn to relax your mind (and body) so it can do what it needs to do...and not concentrate it on anything in particular.
You also do something called a non-judgemental inventory of your body which increases your awareness of the connections between your mind and body and helps you listen to your body which promotes health and healing.
You do not need a church to meditate. Churches are nice but any comfortable, quiet and serene setting will do. You can meditate in your own bed. Outside with nature works even better. Spiritual awareness is just one great side benefit of meditation. I find that in combination with Yoga or even better, Tai Chi, (in Tai Chi it is called Qichong and Chinese archaeologists and historians have found references to qigong-like techniques at least five thousand years old!) it provides benefits in all areas of your life.
Many hospitals and doctors now recommend mediation as a supplement to their treatments and there are reams of University studies confirming its healthful benefits.
This concludes todays lesson in Tai Chi and Qigong.