Prayer is sweet communion with our Abba, Savior and Friend, and worshipping our sovereign Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth. Sometimes we may feel a deep connection with God, and sometimes not. In our rushed and busy lives, we long to connect with our Lord, but often we don’t take the time to actually be with him. There is no better way to learn how to pray than to pray! No doubt Daniel went through similar ups and downs, yet, studying the book of Daniel shows a clear picture of a man who was devoted to worshipping God. In Daniel 6:10 we read, “He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” Daniel was dedicated to a life of prayer.
Over the centuries, Christians have engaged in different practices that help create a life that is devoted to spending time with God in prayer. “Fixed Hour Prayer, “The Daily Office,” and “Divine Hours” are all examples of ways one can develop the habit of praying regularly. These practices were birthed out of a desire for communion with God as spoken of in Psalm 119:64, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” Early Christians continued this practice in Acts; praying on the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth hours. In the sixth century, St. Benedict named these hours, and “Fixed Hour Prayer” is still a valued Christian practice today.
It entails pausing at various intervals throughout the day to become aware of God’s presence, practicing silence and reading Scripture, not for knowledge, but in devotional worship, declaring God’s goodness and asking, “what is he saying to me today?”
Practicing Fixed Hour Prayer:
- Set Times: Set predetermined times of the day when you will stop for a few minutes, and focus intentionally on communicating with God. Most of us have phones with alarms… you can even choose your own ringtone! How often is up to you. You might want to start with two times per day then add another when you are ready.
- Resources: Select your resource. Christians have been “praying the hours” for centuries and now, due to amazing technology, we can access what many have discovered in their search for communion with God. The following are several resources that may be helpful in your own journey.
- Resources by Pastor and Author Peter Scazzero: New Life Daily Office Resources
- Seasonal books: The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
- 10 Christian Prayer Apps
- YouVersion Bible App
- The Daily Prayer App
- Do it! Give Fixed Hour Prayer a try. Pause, focus, pray. The purpose is to build rhythms into your life of communing with God. The ultimate goal is that over time, through practice, praying will become more and more natural to you and that you will commune with God not just during your Fixed Hour Prayer, but continually all day long.
Christians have used these tools for centuries to help engage the believer in a deeper prayer life, but a tool is only useful in the hand of one who desires to use it well. Ask God to open your heart to hear his voice. He promises in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” God longs for sweet communion with us; do you long for communion with him?
Director of Counseling & Soul Care