The Importance and Power of Having Fixed Times for Prayer (Praying Through the Bible #204)

TEXT: Acts 3:1

1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 203 messages in this series.

This is message #204 titled, The Importance and Power of Having Fixed Times for Prayer

In this passage, we find two of Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, heading to the Temple to pray. The Bible says they went “at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.” The disciples, although they were no longer under the Jewish sacrificial system, kept the Jewish custom of having set times for prayer. They continued to go up to the Temple to pray although they went with a new understanding that the Temple did not symbolize man’s separation from a holy God any longer. Like Jesus, one of the reasons why they continued going to the Temple was because it afforded them an opportunity to preach to the Jews from the Old Testament Scriptures about the Messiah who had come.

Rituals sometimes get a bad rap in the Christian community. However, the fact that we are “free” in Christ does not invalidate the use of rituals in the life of a disciple. In fact, Jesus Himself established rituals for the church to carry on in His name — for example, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. You probably have a morning ritual that you carry out each day without even realizing it. These disciples continued to follow the Jewish practice of having prescribed times for prayer. One of the reasons why having a set time to pray is so beneficial is because, if you are not careful, the devil will snatch the thought to pray out of your mind. And, before you know it, hours have gone by in which you have not talked to God. So, if you do not have specific times set aside to do nothing but talk to God on a daily basis, I encourage you to follow the example of Daniel in the Old Testament and decide to do that today.

A young man (who is now a pastor) was in college when he received the news of the untimely death of his 17-year-old sister and only sibling. He was devastated. He said, “This was particularly frightening—I found myself unable to pray and wondered whether I was losing my faith. At times I had nothing to say to God or did not know how to voice my prayers.” This condition of him being unable to pray because of his grief continued until a friend introduced him to the idea of “fixed-hour praying.” This friend went so far as to give him a prayer book with prayers that he could use for different situations for those times when he felt like he had nothing to say to God. The man said that through ‘fixed-hour praying’ and the ‘fixed language of Scripture’, he slowly learned to pray again.

Scholars tell us that early Christians recited the Lord’s Prayer three times a day. In medieval Europe, churches rang bells to remind Christians to pray.

The 19th century Orthodox monk known as Theophan advised, “Set a definite time for prayer. Regulate your prayer time so that the clock striking on the half hour or the hour signals the beginning of your prayer. When you begin praying, do not concern yourself with the length of your prayers, but only lift your heart and mind to the Lord. Choose a method for yourself and hold to it earnestly. You and I cannot go without definite times to pray.”

Experience has taught us that discipline and consistency are important factors in the success of any endeavor in our lives. Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important pursuit we will ever engage in on this earth. Shouldn’t we employ every strategy at our disposal — including set times of prayer — that we might never miss the opportunity to grow closer to Him?

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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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