If you ask a group of people when the best time to pray is, you will most likely find a variety of answers.
This is because prayer, just like our time in the word, is often different for each person.
Those who have been blessed to be active and alert early in the morning may find that they are more present when praying first thing in the morning.
People who feel more energized in the afternoon, or those who are night owls may find the evenings as a more focused and dedicated time for prayer. Is one way better than the other?
Is there really a “best” time to pray?
That is a good question. Let’s look at what scripture says in relation to prayer times.
Is there a Best Time To Pray?
We see different people praying throughout the Bible. For instance, in Psalm 55:16 David says “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
David doesn’t mention just one ideal time that he will cry out to God in prayer.
He says that he will pray to God in the evening, in the morning and in the afternoon.
This has a sense of all day, at any time.
We also get a glimpse of what Jesus’ prayer life looked like.
We read in Mark 1:35, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
There are various accounts of Jesus praying at times when you would expect everyone else to be sleeping (early in the morning).
But it is also important to note that He often withdrew to find a solitary place to pray.
When it comes to figuring out whether there is a best time to pray, this can vary from person to person.
So, the real question is, what is the best time for you to pray?
Jesus’ prayer life gives us a hint that can help us figure this out – a solitary place.
It can be hard enough to focus while praying when our thoughts are wandering. But what makes it even harder to be intentional and present in our time with God are distractions.
The distractions each of us face are different from one another. If you are a parent, at some point in your day, when the kids have woken up and there is a laundry list of things to do, then your undistracted time is over.
If you’re working from home or you work outside of the house, at a certain time you will have tasks to complete and people to connect with, which will require your attention.
Most of us have an idea of what to expect throughout our day.
If we have classes, a job, a waking up schedule, etc. we know more or less when the day gets busy.
This is where figuring out when you will have a solitary time comes in. If you have a break at lunch, or the kids are asleep or out of the house during a certain time, this can become your solitary time.
If your day usually has no breaks, you may need to carve out that time.
For some people this will look like waking up an hour earlier to spend time in prayer, before anyone is up or the day starts.
For others this may mean carving out time in the afternoon, or the evenings perhaps when the workflow has stopped or the kids have gone to bed.
A solitary time is one of the most important parts of truly growing in your prayer life.
Even if it starts with 20 or 30 minutes, when you carve out an intentional time for prayer, you begin to prioritize it in your life, and treat it like a priority.
It is no longer something that can just be put to the side for more important things, because it is most important.
Along with finding a solitary time, it is also important to remember that having a time for prayer is not simply something that we check off our to-do list.
Prayer is what sets us up for every part of our lives. When you are having a hard time at work, when you are feeling weary or frustrated at home, when things are confusing or overwhelming.
Our prayer time is when we get to talk to our Heavenly Father and invite Him into those parts of our lives.
It is a time where we can find our strength and guidance for all the other areas of our lives.
This means that our solitary time also needs to be a time when we can truly focus.
If you are not a morning person, and it takes you a while to wake up, a morning solitary time might not be the best idea for you.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t become a morning person, so don’t let this discourage you, as there are many things that can help make mornings easier.
Likewise, if you are very tired at the end of the day, and you can’t focus on anything, then an evening solitary time may not work for you.
Figuring out when to pray and what really sets you up for a great time in prayer may take some experimenting.
Scripture calls us to pray in different ways for different purposes.
Yes, having a solitary time to pray daily is very important.
But even outside of that time, when we are going about our day, we can communicate with God.
As you walk into a meeting, as you get your tasks done, you can simply say “God give me strength” or “Lord be with me” and God hears you. This is a part of prayer and communion with God.
This is how we pray without ceasing…by simply being in continual communion with God as we do life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Our prayer time does not have to be limited to one time in the day. Setting aside a focused time is important for our growth as Christians, but remembering that our time with God doesn’t end when we say amen, is also as important.
In conclusion, pray at any chance you get.