Traveling home from a great weekend of “preaching and praise” (that’s preacher talk for a “Gospel Meeting”), we decided to pull into a rest area and stretch a bit. A few times around one of these “mini-parks” can do wonders for joints that stiffen with age.
I noticed a lovely couple making preparations under one of the shelters. I tried not to stare but their efforts differed from anything I’d seen. They weren’t spreading a table cloth, getting ready for a picnic. They were spreading out mats, getting ready for a prayer. They were Muslim.
Did you know Muslims pray five times a day? They call it salat. It is the second “Pillar of Islam.” It involves their praying: (a) before sunrise, (b) before the sun is at its highest mark in the day, (c) late in the afternoon, (d) after sunset and, then, (e) between sunset and midnight.
Did you know orthodox Jews pray three or four or five times a day, depending on the day? They call it tefillah. It involves their praying : (a) in the morning, (b) in the afternoon, (c) in the evening, (d) an additional prayer on Saturday and (d) another special prayer on the “Day of Atonement.”
So… as Christians, how often do we pray? When is the best time for us to pray? Using our Bibles, we might come up with a variety of answers.
- If we asked the author of Psalm 34, he would recommend that we pray when we’re in trouble (Psalm 34:17).
- If we asked the author of Psalm 39, he would tell us to pray when we’re hurting (Psalm 39:12).
- If we asked the author of Psalm 69, he would tell us to pray all day long (Psalm 69:3); and, the author of Psalm 86 would concur (Psalm 86:3).
- If we asked the author of Psalm 88, he would tell us to pray anytime—day or night—but he’d suggest “the morning” as the most optimum (Psalm 88:1, 13).
- If we asked the author of Psalm 119, he would tell us to pray before the day even got started (Psalm 119:147).
- If we asked the author of Psalm 142, he would tell us to pray when we’re being mistreated (Psalm 142:6).
Of interest, Jesus prayed all of those times. He prayed when he was in trouble (Matthew 26:36-46), when he was hurting (Matthew 11:12-13, 23), during the day / morning (Mark 1:35), in the evening (Luke 6:19) and when he was being mistreated (Luke 23:34, 46).
Okay, what are we supposed to glean from all of this? “When is the bests time for us to pray?” According to Jesus, we “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Through Paul, the Holy Spirit tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). So, “When is the best time for us to pray?”