Something to Try: Scheduled Praying

Something to Try: Scheduled Praying

If we don’t schedule to talk, we often won’t. Sin is amazing, isn’t it? We have the God of the universe who loves us and is waiting to listen, we have the way freely open to him through the gospel of Christ, we have the Spirit enabling us to pray…and yet, we still struggle. Yet, we’re talking about needing to schedule times of prayer.

  • “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17)
  • “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hours of prayer, the ninth hour [3 pm]” (Acts 3:1)
  • “The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour [12pm] to pray.” (Acts 10:9)
  • “And Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour [3pm]…’” (Acts 10:30)

Perhaps in your Bible reading you’ve noticed these verses as well. Especially the ones from Acts, it’s fascinating to us modern, usually unscheduled pray-ers to see how Luke records the early Christians praying at specific times. And it’s not in the morning or evening only, but at 12pm and 3pm—in the middle of the day.

Now, let’s be clear, God’s word never commands us we need to pray at specific set times like this. There is much in the Bible—especially in the book of Acts—that is descriptive while not being prescriptive. Nevertheless, might be we misguided if we don’t see these descriptions and wonder if they might help us to pray?

It could be argued this was simply Peter, John, and Cornelius’s culture. And so it was. Even for Cornelius, a Gentile God-fearer (not a Jew), it seems that praying in the middle of the day was somewhat of a given. While in contrast, we live in a culture where scheduled daily prayers are only monastic. We know of “quiet times” in the morning, of praying before meals and bed. But habitual 12pm and 3pm times of prayer? That’s foreign. And why? Because, we say, “I’m working then.” Or, “I don’t have the time.” Or especially, “I’m busy.”

But guess what? So were they.

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