“Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10.
Do you pray more today than you did a year ago? Do you have a specific set time in which you speak with God or do you pray on the fly? What causes you to pray? Do you feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit, or do you pray when something good or bad is happening around you? Do you feel prayer is intermingled with all other parts of your life or is it just another activity that may or may not happen during your day? Do you know the purpose and value of prayer?
Daniel was a bible hero noted for his obedience and loyalty to God. Despite the significant efforts of his Babylonian masters to change him, Daniel continued to rely on God, while a captive, in the same way he had in his youth. He had developed habits that were part of his heritage, and he chose to follow them even when thrown into a culture that had no time for his Lord. He prayed during the traditional hours of prayer (the third, sixth and ninth hours). These prayer times were not meaningless checkbox gestures because we know God spoke to him during these times. Daniel, like others of the Old Testament, were taught that several times during the day, they needed to stop doing whatever they were doing and connect with God. They were taught to acknowledge God’s importance in their life and give Him praise. They were taught to use prayer as a time of restoration with God so that they could survive their circumstances. Whether he was in a lion’s den or the King’s court, Daniel knew that prayer had to be an intentional act which put God first in his life.
Many Christian have opinions that promote the purpose and manner of prayer. Unfortunately, there are also many Christian opinions that downplay the value or necessity to have intentional prayer times. We know Jesus prayed and that his example was not just teaching moments for His followers. It was necessary for His ministry. Jesus was asked to teach His disciples to pray not because they did not know about prayer but because they had seen the effect of prayer on His ministry and wanted the same. They had possibly prayed during the set time more out of habit vice respect for God and wanted to know what Jesus was doing differently. Jesus’ example serves as a reminder of need to stop and set aside time during the day to connect with the Father.
Intentional prayer did not stop once Jesus ascended as we read in Acts that Peter and John went to the temple “at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon” (Acts 3:1). They took time to stop what they were doing and pray.
Prayer is meaningful for any hour of the day. It is an important part of the Christian life, and unfortunately many people have forgotten about the fact that talking to God can improve our life in so many ways. God wants us to talk with Him and even when we do not know what to say. He still wants us to stop and come before Him; He will read our heart. Continue to pray whenever you feel compelled but consider being more intentional about setting up time to stop what you are doing and acknowledge our Saviour.