Summary: One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. - Acts 3:1 Would it be strange to know that the early Apostles prayed at specific hours in the day? For many believers in Jesus Christ we are afforded ...
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. - Acts 3:1
Would it be strange to know that the early Apostles prayed at specific hours in the day? For many believers in Jesus Christ we are afforded the liberty to pray at anytime which of course is right, as the Apostles did have that same liberty (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Yet there was a practice that was very old in the people of God's history that carried over into the Church. Daniel practiced the 3 hours of prayer (Daniel 6:10). In the Psalms there are multiple references to the hours of prayer (Psalm 55:17). It is also interesting to note that the Apostles prayed the Psalms (Acts 4:23-30), as well as Jesus Christ namely when he was dying on the cross he prayed from the Psalms: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1). There were 3 distinct times at: 9am (the 3rd hour), 12noon (the 6th hour) and 3pm (the ninth hour). We read in the above passage that the Apostles went "at three" which is right but in jewish times and the greek this would have meant: "the ninth hour." Peter the Apostle practiced the hours of prayer as it says: "Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray" (Acts 10.9). The early Church carried on this tradition of praying the Psalms and also praying at the hours of prayer, these have become known as "common prayer, divine office" and many other names.
Early Church Father Tertullian says, "Touching the time, however, the extrinsic observance of certain hours will not be unprofitable—those common hours, I mean, which mark the intervals of the day—the third, the sixth, the ninth—which we may find in the Scriptures to have been more solemn than the rest." Books on prayer in our modern day Church are too numerous to count. Advice and words are multiplied to encourage brothers and sisters in the Lord to commit to prayer. It has been no hidden secret that the prayer life of pastors and spiritual leaders in evangelical circles have waned greatly in our modern day. At times formal prayer has been transformed to more free model, but this has not greatly helped prayer flourish in the Church. To have set times to set apart one's day to fix the gaze back on the Lord can be greatly helpful. There is a reason why Scripture speaks of these things and the Lord knows the benefit need of disciplines to help us grow in godliness. A.W. Tozer speaking of this need to recover a more disciplined prayer life says, "Every Christian should have a stated time each day which he can give to the holy office of prayer." Each day is the Lord's of our short lives. Before each meal we give thanks to the Lord. Before we sleep, we thank the Lord for the day. Should not we also thank the Lord throughout the day. What a glorious God we serve that we are able to approach in the Name of Jesus Christ.