Praying the Hours: We Need Spiritual Discipline

Via Unsplash
Via Unsplash

Acts 3:1 – One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.

When I first heard of praying the hours, I thought it sounded mystical – I assumed it was a spiritual practice associated with monastics or nuns. I was a little surprised to learn that praying the hours, also known as fixed-hour prayer is one of the oldest forms of spiritual disciplines, which roots back to Judaism.

Most people in the modern Protestant church are unfamiliar with the idea of praying the hours – or having a set, disciplined schedule of prayer. Yet praying the hours is a beautiful ancient practice seen in scripture.

King David perfectly understood the idea of praying the hours. In Psalm 119 (the Psalm of renewal) we learn that he prayed seven times a day.

Some might argue that by forcing yourself to pray each day (at appointed times) you are practicing vain religion – but I would counter that prayer at set times – even if it feels devoid of deep, emotional meaning is a way to become spiritually stronger.

Praying when you don’t feel like it isn’t a useless spiritual vanity. On the contrary, this is precisely when we need to pray – when we don’t feel like it.

Millions of people go to a gym each day, even when it’s tough, even when they’d rather stay home, even when their body is tired, and they would rather sleep longer. However, millions wake early for the gym because they understand that if they force themselves to go they will become healthier, slimmer, and stronger – praying the hours has the same effect.

Yeshua woke His disciples as night drew near. He forced them awake to pray. They were tired, exhausted even. However, Yeshua wasn’t going to wait for the disciples to feel motivated. He wasn’t going to wait until ‘inspiration’ struck and the disciples felt compelled to pray – He woke them to pray because the hour was nigh.

These are the last days.

The hour is nigh.

Let’s wake up and pray, even when we don’t want to.

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