I hope you have been enjoying this pondering process as much as I have enjoyed sharing the journey with you. Today’s topic is frequency of prayer, as in, “how often should I pray?” and “what bible examples are there of prayer frequency?”
I began with the exhortation to pray without ceasing and what that really means. Since praying is us connecting to and communicating with God, that exhortation signifies us being in constant contact with God. This makes sense, since it is God who empowers us to navigate life’s challenges successfully. It also makes sense because it means we can intercede for others instantly. In addition to what I mentioned, we can also literally share our day with God because we are connected to Him. That means we can share the sunshine, the crisp, cool winter air and other things He created with Him, for He is also our Companion in life.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV
17 pray without ceasing,
Scripture mentions Daniel praying three times daily on his knees facing Jerusalem while he was in Babylonian captivity. (Daniel 6:10).
Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
There are new testament mentions of the disciples and apostles praying regularly. (Acts 3:1, 6:4, 10:2, 10:9)
Acts 3:1 (NKJV)
3 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Acts 6:4 (NKJV)
4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Acts 10:2 (NKJV)
2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
Acts 10:9 (NKJV)
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.
As you can see, these people made prayer a priority in their spiritual lives. Connecting to and communicating with God was important to them, as it needs to be to us. The apostles recognized prayer’s value in terms of intercession for the people God gave them to shepherd and the work God had given them to do for them. In their case, they needed to be free from works of service in the fellowship so they could spend more time with God. That’s a principle for those of us who are spiritual leaders to follow, since it’s easy to get caught up in very real physical needs and neglect very real spiritual ones. The spiritual always comes first just like loving God comes first in God’s spiritual law of love towards Him, others and self. Connecting to God places priorities in proper perspective and connects us to the One who can transcend the physical to bless or deliver us.
I don’t know about you, but the day tends to drain me spiritually, so a prayer refreshing during the course of the day strengthens and empowers me to move forward in whatever that day requires. If you are in the working world, can you set aside time, perhaps during a scheduled break or lunch hour, to connect to God? Length of time you spend with Him is not the issue. The quality, fervency and connection with Him do. Whether it’s five minutes or fifty, I think you’ll find you are refreshed. I do speak from experience. I had a very stressful job in a hostile work environment some years ago and turned to God in prayer when I could. Boy, what a difference it made! The situation did not change, but I was refreshed and able to be of great service to my employer.
How often should we pray? Well, that’s up to you. My answer would be “as often as necessary”. Please make prayer a daily spiritual habit just like you make studying or reading God’s word a daily spiritual habit. If you feel God the Holy Spirit leading or nudging you to pray, please yield to Him. It could be He has a word or a task for you. Many has been the time when God has led me to pray, and I found myself interceding for someone that I later found out had some sort of need, challenge or difficulty.
So, let’s pray: Father God, thanks for helping all who read these words understand the importance of prayer and how it connects us to You and serves to spiritually refresh us when our spiritual energy tanks run on “low”. Please help us to pray effectively, fervently and sincerely. Thanks for being there for us whenever we reach out to You. Thanks for helping us yield to Your prompting or leading to pray and sharing in Your work in that way. Thanks for spiritually walking with us and, as the poem Footprints so eloquently illustrates, carrying us when we are unable to walk and times get hard. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved