The current practice of the church seems to be to schedule everything in our lives in order to avoid missing a project, a test, a practice, or an event. A mentor of mine once preached a sermon where this was the theme:
Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
Our lives are so busy that we need a small army of technology to keep up and on schedule. Phone calendars and reminder notifications try to keep us on track. Bluetooth watches buzz our arm when its time for the event. Post-it notes dot desks, mirrors, and cars. And yet, we still miss things… often because we sleep through the alarm. Is it any wonder why?
We are so busy that our faith is relegated to the margins. When we are able to find the time for worship, reading, or fellowship, we fit it in as best we can. But the truth is that we often don’t have enough margin for our hobbies, our family, or ourselves… let alone God. There are some who have said that we have the Protestant Reformation to blame for this (Thanks, Sam).The Bible is filled with examples of those who prayed on schedule. Click To Tweet
We know that the Early Church prayed according to a schedule. For example, in Acts:
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” (Acts 3:1)
“…Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.” (Acts 10:9)
“And Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,’” (Acts 10:30)
These are a few among many examples of the Apostles and Church praying according to a set schedule. It is likely that this was a holdover from a longstanding Jewish practice. Consider Daniel:
“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” (Daniel 6:10)
The Psalmist (King David) speaks about it as well:
“Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17)
“Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous ordinances.” (Psalm 119:164)
As such, praying according to a scheduled pattern (or fixed hours) was the one of the earliest practices of the Church. The Church didn’t just “fit it in,” they made time for prayer. They scheduled around it! Prayer had priority position on their calendar because to them, it was one of the most important spiritual practices to which they could give their time.
For many of us, prayer at a time other than before a meal, or at bedtime, is a radical idea.Mealtime prayers alone are little more than Hail Mary passes from prayer weaklings. Click To Tweet
… but they ARE a start!
The true disciple makes time for prayer. The biblical greats didn’t just make time for prayer, they prayed on schedule.
What might yours be?
PRACTICE: Set aside 12 minutes tomorrow for dedicated prayer. It will be more difficult (and life-giving) than you might think.