Christian Prayer Breakfast Fort Worth Tarrant County

When and Where Should I Pray?

When and Where Should I Pray?

Since God is always with us (Matthew 28:20), we don’t have to go to a certain place to engage God in prayer. However, it can be helpful to have certain places and times to pray. Having a rhythm to our prayer life and a plan for where we’ll pray can help keep us in regular conversation with our Creator. But where do we look for examples of where we should pray? If you look to pop culture, the dinner table is where we see prayers depicted (often with humor). Thankfully, the Bible gives us guidance on when and where we should pray.

Scriptures guidance on when and where we should pray

If you’re unfamiliar with praying to God, you might be under the assumption that prayer only happens with family around a dining room table, kneeling at your bed before you go to sleep, or in a church building on Sunday morning. While these are places and times that prayer can definitely occur, God calls us to pray continuously (Romans 12:12) and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). So, that means that prayer can happen everywhere you are as you have an open line of communication to God.

However, there are still particular moments when you take more intentional moments to pray. What does the Bible say about those times of prayer? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks specifically about prayer. Before he shares what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” he speaks in Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV) more broadly about prayer, saying to not be like the hypocrites who stand in public and on the street corners praying in ways that they’re seen by others. Contrary to that, Jesus says, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Takeaways from Jesus’ prayers

There is much to be learned from observing in Scripture how, when, and where Jesus prayed. First, Jesus often “withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16 ESV). In this way, he was practicing what he preached about not being like those praying to get the attention of others. He was escaping to find private times and places to speak with God.

Second, Jesus prayed at important moments in his life. We should follow his example and make sure we include God in the moments that shape our lives. If we’re seeking to follow God’s will, asking for his guidance is critical. We see Jesus pray in key moments in his life, including:

  • His baptism (Luke 3:21–22)
  • Before feeding the 5,000 (Luke 9:16) and the 4,000 (Matthew 15:36)
  • The moment of his transfiguration (Luke 9:29)
  • Before he chose his twelve disciples (Luke 6:12)
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest (Matthew 26:36-46)
  • From the cross (Luke 23:34, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, John 19:30)

Third, there were consistent themes in Jesus’ prayers. We see Jesus give thanks and praise God (Luke 10:21), build his relationship by communing with his Father (Luke 6:12), and submit to God’s plan (Matthew 26:36-46). Similarly, our prayers should have familiar themes to them. You can use things like the P-R-A-Y and A-C-T-S acrostics to help guide your prayers. But that doesn’t mean our prayers should be rigid and impersonal. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that we should present our requests to God. In doing so, the peace of God, which we can’t even begin to understand, will guard our hearts and our minds in Jesus. And even when we don’t know what to say to God, the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with wordless groans” (Romans 8:26-27).

5 times and places you can pray

Life is busy, and it only gets more busy. That’s why it can help to identify regular opportunities to open your heart in prayer. As noted, God calls us to have an open line of communication with him. So, anytime and anywhere can be a time when you pray, but a distraction-free time and place can help to make sure your mind doesn’t wander. You might want to find a space in your home for this purpose, or perhaps another place, such as a favorite park or coffee shop, can work for you.

Consider these 5 opportunities for prayer:

1. In a distraction-free place to start the day

Where can you focus for a few minutes in prayer before the day really kicks into high gear? Maybe it’s as you get ready for the day. Perhaps it’s before the kids wake up, and you steal a few minutes with a cup of coffee. Or maybe your routine allows for a few minutes to sit at a coffee shop with your thoughts. It’s great to start your day with time in prayer.

2. On your commute

Many of us have a commute to work. How do you fill that time? You might listen to a podcast or music to get ready for the day. Consider setting aside part of your commute to pray, either in your mind or out loud, to God. Time alone in your car offers a secluded opportunity with just and God.

3. Before key events throughout your day

Just like we can establish rhythms in our prayer life, our day has rhythms as well. We usually have set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You might walk into work at the same time everyday, or maybe you have a bedtime routine with the kids. What rhythms of your day provide an opportunity for prayer? Perhaps you establish a silent or spoken prayer before dinner. Or maybe you have time in the break room at work at lunch. Bedtime with your kids offers another opportunity to pray, while also modeling prayer for your kids. Examine your day and see how you can insert prayer into it.

4. In reflection at the end of the day

Just like prayer can help start your day off in a positive way, prayer at the end of the day gives you an opportunity to reflect on the ways God is working in your life. Take time as you prepare for bed to think about the ways (big and small) that you see God moving. Thank him for what he is doing and will do.

5. Anytime and anywhere you need to pray

Beyond these opportunities for prayer, God wants to hear from you all the time. God calls us to pray continuously (Romans 12:12) and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Life happens, and God wants us to bring our requests to him. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, God desires our prayers.

There are so many other opportunities we can go to our Father in prayer. There are difficult times in our lives, big decisions, times of grief, moments of pain, times when needs arise, and other times when prayer is not only appropriate, but essential. Don’t turn down an opportunity to take something to God in prayer.

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