It Doesn’t Matter When You Pray

I’ve mentioned before that my wife and I get up early to say prayers. She’s up at 4:00, I’m up at 4:15, and we’re praying together before 4:30. Then it’s out the door to run a few miles together or off to the gym for a workout.

I don’t think this guy follows the same schedule:

From our friends at Leadership Journal

From our friends at Leadership Journal

Perhaps his caller had this passage in mind:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35.)

If you’re not an early riser, don’t worry. The Bible says Jesus stayed up late at night to pray sometimes too. (Mark 14:32.)

No matter what your schedule, God’s ready to hear from you. He’ll even help you pray when you don’t know what to talk about.

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27.)

So whether it’s early or late or in between, God’s always available to listen and to help.


What would you talk to God about if you start to pray right this moment?
What’s keeping you from praying about that?
Go for it!


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16 Responses to It Doesn’t Matter When You Pray

  1. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for this, Tim. I am an early riser … but I hate it when people try to establish rules around when to pray by saying things like “If you don’t give God your firstfruits [translation: earliest waking minutes/hours] then you’re not giving Him your best” etc. Thankfully God is beyond our time (and our rules!).

    • Tim says:

      I’m with you on the supposed rule that we have to pray before anything else – as if God is bound by time!

      • Ruth says:

        Never heard that one about first fruits for prayer before…have I been living under a religiosity filter? Not my idea of first fruit really, I pray at odd hours day and night, partly because our shift workers come and go at weird times, and my sleep pattern is like a huge unmade jigsaw. I pray with thankyou and praise until I start to get the urge pray for others, and unashamedly, me.
        We were taught to pray for ourselves last, but I think sorting out individual issues makes for a happier, more focused and closer prayer time, so if something makes me squirm, I pray until I settled, then move on to sharing other things.
        I’m sure God must have a good chuckle at some of my slightly incoherent early waking prayers, as I pray, doze, pray, dream pray, and so it goes. 🙂

        • Tim says:

          I think the main problem with trying to figure out how to give God our first fruits is that it ignores the fact that Jesus is the first fruit who has fulfilled all that for us. We come to God in freedom now, much as you describe your prayers, Ruth.

  2. Ellen says:

    I don’t really tell God all that much any more. I do listen to what he says to me, though.

  3. Pastor Bob says:

    Bible College rule: Morning is good, in the day is good too, but the most important part is to just do it.

    Older Rule: JUST DO IT

  4. Laura Droege says:

    What prevents us from praying? We were discussing this in Sunday school this past week, and a woman mentioned that anger might prevent us from talking to God, specifically anger at how life hasn’t turned out the way we want. This resonated with me. When I’m angry at God, I’m almost afraid to tell him. I guess I’m afraid that he won’t “like” me anymore; other humans definitely wouldn’t like me if I screamed at them the way I want (and sometimes do) scream at God.

    I’m slowly getting over that fear. I had a nice long screaming session with him this morning, actually. It was better to yell and rant about the situation to God–who knows every detail, including why I feel angry and what I’ve lost–than to tell another person.

    • Tim says:

      I have to keep reminding myself of that, Laura. God already knows, so I should just get on with talking to him about it. It’s not like I’m going to surprise him with anything.

  5. Well written and encouraging, thanks, Tim! I think there is something to the “early in the morning will I seek Thee” / “those who seek Me early shall find Me” perspective. Starting off one’s day on the basis of having “tuned in” to God, at a time when there are usually no distractions and one should feel fresh, certainly is a great habit. But I quite agree, legalism (the weird “firstfruits” interpretation Jeannie mentions) totally misses the point. I think Pastor Bob’s “Just do it” rule summarises it well (as does your piece). Thanks for encouraging us to keep on praying!

    • Tim says:

      You’ve hit on what I get from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Manie: “Pray continually.” It’s not a matter of having to wake up before dawn in order to pray, but being in communication with God throughout.

  6. dpersson7 says:

    I think it is good to have goals such as getting up early to pray, but not let those goals become hindrances to pray. I am a fairly early riser, but I need to read first and wake up before I can pray. One of my biggest challenges is that I have to be at work early, and get everyone else ready and out the door no later than 7:30 so praying as I go has worked well. I try to pray for things as they come up, including asking for help when I start getting overwhelmed, which happens a lot. Knowing that God sees everything and is my source of strength and wisdom has been liberating for me and taken the pressure off to pray a particular way.

    • Tim says:

      Your practice seems well-grounded in biblical experience because praying as you go sounds a lot like the ascent psalms people sang/prayed as they walked up to the heights of Jerusalem for festivals.

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