The Problem With a Daily Prayer Time

I know some will question the title of this post, thinking, “How can having a daily prayer time ever be a problem?” True prayer led by the Spirit cannot be a problem, however, we are fallen beings and since our biggest struggle is with the sin and flesh, we need to be on guard even in our prayers.

What I seek to help us understand as that due to our sinfulness, even knowing the truth to the contrary, we are in danger of letting our daily prayer times trip us up in our spiritual growth.

How so?

First, there is the danger that by having a daily prayer time, we fall into the subtle belief that since we have had a prayer time, we have somehow obtained a right standing before God because of our perceived obedience. This is a dangerous belief because it suddenly renders our need for the gospel moot. It is as if we believe that by having our prayer time, we are no longer in need of Christ. No, we will never outgrow our need for our Savior and HIS righteousness. Thank heavens He is a always making petition for us on our behalf, because we always need Him. Prayer times are a blessing, but they do not render the gospel null and void. We need the gospel just as much now as we did when we first believed regardless of our prayer times.

Secondly, we need to be on guard that our daily prayer time doesn’t somehow become our spiritual talisman against the trials we still face. There have been days where I have had a wonderful prayer time in the morning, only to be followed by the most wretched day in the world. My erroneous thought was: “what the heck did the prayer time get me?”

That is the moment that I realized it was more of a good luck charm, than a time with our LORD.

Finally, one final danger we must understand, a daily prayer time is not prescribed in the Bible. No where does it say, “have a daily quiet time.” No, the Bible says pray always, but it doesn’t require us to have a time where we sip our coffee, read the Bible, think sweet thoughts about Jesus and then go on and forget we are believers the rest of the day.

We are to be praying continuously as we go about our business, trusting in the LORD, asking Him for guidance, protection and wisdom to meet our daily needs. If we JUST have a daily prayer time, we fail in the bigger requirement to pray continuously.

I hope these are helpful. They are to me. I need the reminders as well. Now pray, pray always as Paul tells us, and enjoy your moments alone in the word with our Savior.

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6 thoughts on “The Problem With a Daily Prayer Time

    1. Yes, I think what bothers me is that those who I have known over the years who were absolutely rigid about “their quiet times,” were some of the hardest people to work with in the church. In other words, they were graceless.

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  2. Hi Tim, I came here from the Aquila Report.

    On your third point, the ordering of a believer’s covenanted daily life according to morning and evening worship in general, and prayer specifically, is often directed in Scripture (yearling lamb morning and evening, altar of incense morning and evening, half a dozen Psalms, the normative pattern of Christ Himself, etc.).

    If you’re not teaching God’s people to order their days according to this rhythm, you are withholding something biblical from them, albeit for what you perceive to be the maintenance of an important doctrine (and the doctrine of grace alone is indeed important–although sanctification is not at all by grace alone, and I encourage you to read Derek Thomas’ recent article at Ligonier on the subject, to catch up on four hundred years’ worth of corrective to the passive Christian life that currently goes under the idea of “grace alone.”)

    I’m sorry to read that you have experienced a number of people who have made a legalism out of prayer. This is not too surprising, since on more than one occasion Jesus exposed that the Pharisees had done this very thing. However, it is precisely the kind of prayer time that Jesus prescribed as an antidote that you seem to be countering here. Our Lord’s own emphasis was on having one–not so much on the dangers of having one. I appreciate your noting the dangers, but I am happy to report that in my comparatively brief experience, it has been those members of the church for whom daily (and twice daily) communion with God set the rhythm of their lives that have enjoyed the most fruit, rendered the most service, and given the most encouragement.

    It’s a bit astounding to me to read of your identifying others as “graceless” (one of your comments in the thread) simply because you found them “some of the hardest people to work with.” Perhaps, the language strikes me with such force because the established meaning of “graceless” is “one who is not genuinely saved,” not necessarily “one who has not yet mastered the level of flexibility and niceness that has been crowned the chief Christian virtue of an antinomian age.” Still, it’s rather unshepherdlike to bestow the moniker “graceless” on someone just because you personally have found them “hard to work with.” There’s some Luke 15 shepherd’s-heart to be aspired to there.

    Well, I didn’t intend to start a conversation, nor do I have the time to carry it on. I am sorry that the comment became protracted, but redacting it would take more time still. Hopefully, reading it with some accommodating grace, you and your readers may extract some benefit from it and discard the rest. Your temporary ‘Aquila Report’ fame brought me here with one main objective: that some who read your article may take into consideration especially the biblical pattern of the ordering of a Christian’s life, and where Christ laid the weight of His emphasis in His earthly ministry’s teaching (the entire Bible is Christ’s teaching!) on private prayer.

    Grace and peace to you and to all who have loved our Lord’s appearing,

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    1. James,

      Your comments are appreciated and helpful. Thank for taking the time to share them with us. Allow me to say that I’m not trying to reduce prayer, but guard against that which our sinful hearts often do when we forget the grace we have received so that we can pray. As for the graceless comments, I stick with those, for I have encountered those who made it known of the spiritual endeavors of praying twice a day, Bible study x-number of times a week, yet were rigid and graceless in dealing with others. It is what it is. I pray my readers don’t fall into the same attitudes.

      Again, thanks for giving the encouragement of Christ’s patterns in our own lives. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Let us patter our lives after Him, in grace.

      Blessings

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