Why is daily prayer important?”
Answer: Quite simply, for followers of Jesus Christ prayer is the best way to communicate with God. Prayer is the vehicle for daily dialog with the One who created us. The importance of daily communication through prayer cannot be overestimated. It is so important that it is mentioned over 250 times in Scripture. So why is daily prayer so important? First, daily prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of our lives with God. Second, daily prayer gives us the chance to express our gratitude for the things He provides. Third, daily prayer provides the platform for confessing our sin and asking for help in overcoming that sin. Fourth, daily prayer is an act of worship and obedience. And finally, daily prayer is a way to acknowledge who is really in control of our lives. Let’s take a look at each of these important reasons in a little more detail.
Daily prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of one’s life with God. Life’s circumstances change on a daily basis. In fact, things can go from good to bad to worse in a very short time. God calls us to bring our concerns to Him for disposition and potential blessing. He also calls us to share our joys and triumphs with Him. In fact, Jeremiah 33:3 states, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” God wants us to call on Him so that He can answer our prayers. He also wants to share with us incredible blessings that we might otherwise have missed had we not reached out to Him through prayer. And finally, James 4:8 tells us to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” God wants us to be close to Him at all times.
Daily prayer gives us the chance to express gratitude for the things in life that He provides. It is no secret that we must give thanks to the Lord for all the things that He provides and all of the things He does on our behalf. His goodness and lovingkindness to us should be recognized on a daily basis. In 1 Chronicles 16:34, we are commanded to “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” The psalmist tells us in Psalm 9:1, “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.” We pray on a daily basis to acknowledge His faithfulness and His abundant provision in our daily lives.
Daily prayer provides the platform for confessing our sin and asking for help repenting of that sin. Let’s face it, we all sin daily whether we know it or not. So as followers of Jesus Christ, what must we do? Scripture makes it very clear: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’— and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Tell God what He already knows and do it on a daily basis. Daily prayer time is a great place to unburden one’s self from the debilitating effects of sin. So often Christians walk around with unconfessed sin that hinders our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when we should humbly submit ourselves and ask for forgiveness in prayer. Another important element of daily prayer is asking God for the strength to repent of our sins. Only God can help us turn from our sins, and, for this to be so, He needs to hear our plea to repent.
Daily prayer is an act of worship and obedience. Perhaps no other verse better summarizes why we should pray on a daily basis than 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It’s God’s will for His children to rejoice in Him, to pray to Him and give thanks to Him. To pray without ceasing simply means that we should make prayer a regular habit and never stop doing so. Prayer also is an act of worship because by praying to Him we are showing Him how much we adore Him. Daily prayer is also an act of obedience that brings joy to the Lord to see His children following His commands.
Daily prayer is a way to acknowledge who is really in control of our lives. As Christians, we know who is really in control. God is sovereign. Nothing happens without God knowing about it (Isaiah 46:9-10; Daniel 4:17). Because He is sovereign over all, He deserves our worship and praise. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). God is our great King and as such He controls every aspect of our lives. Each day we should acknowledge His proper place in our lives humbly and with a reverence reserved for such a great and awesome King.
Finally, prayer is something that we all should want to do on a daily basis. Yet for many Christians it can be a challenge to humble one’s self in daily prayer. For those who have been walking with the Lord for many years, daily prayer may become stale and lacking in proper conviction or reverence. Whether one is a new believer or an established one, prayer should always be considered as THE best way to speak to God. Imagine not speaking to a loved one or a close friend. How long would the relationship last? Daily prayer with God is daily fellowship with our heavenly Father. It is truly amazing that God would want to have fellowship with us at all. In fact, the psalmist asks, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4). Daily prayer is a good way to understand this incredible truth and the marvelous privilege God has given us.
What is a morning prayer? What is an evening prayer?”
Answer: Many Christians pray a morning prayer when they awake and an evening prayer before they go to bed. Christian children are often taught to “say their prayers” before they go to bed every night as a way to honor God and nurture spiritual development. In some churches, morning and evening prayers are liturgical prayers one offers to God at specific times of the day.
In biblical times, devout Jews were often at prayer and likely prayed at certain times throughout the day (Psalm 5:3; 55:17; 119:62; 147), but the tradition of setting aside three specific times for ritual prayer developed while the Israelites were in exile in Babylon and Persia. The temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, but the people continued to offer prayer morning, noon, and evening to coincide with what had previously been times of sacrifice at the temple (see Daniel 6, particularly verse 10).
In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church turned the tradition of prayer at specific times of day into a liturgy, setting a schedule called the Breviary. The Breviary marks specific hours of the day with prayer, each of the hours having a different title. The schedule starts with Matins (midnight) and then continues with Lauds (dawn), Prime (early morning), Terce (mid-morning), Sext (noon), None (mid-afternoon), Vespers (evening), and Compline (prior to bedtime, about 9:00 PM). These prayers are also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office, the Work of God, and the canonical hours.
In 1962 Pope Paul VI set out a new Breviary at the Second Vatican Council, defining the major and minor hours. The Office of Readings (formerly Matins), Lauds, and Vespers became the major hours, with all else being minor. According to Catholicism, the two most important hours are the morning and evening prayers. The morning prayer includes a reading based on Luke 1:68–79 (the Benedictus), and the evening prayer contains a reading based on Luke 1:46–55 (the Magnificat). Both hours also include various psalms, hymns, and other readings.
Several churches use morning and evening prayers today, including Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran. Morning prayers are meant for praise, while evening prayers are set aside for thanksgiving. When said in a congregation, morning and evening prayers follow a specific liturgy that includes prayer, hymns, and Scripture readings. The prayers themselves are memorized or read and are most often spoken in a call-and-response format between a leader and congregation. Some churches also encourage individuals to pray morning and evening prayers; many examples of these prescribed prayers can be found online.
While morning and evening prayers can be meaningful, there is no biblical requirement on when to pray, and there is no substitute for prayers that come from the heart. A liturgy may be helpful insofar as it contains Scripture, and many believers may find that a regimen of scheduled prayer aids their growth in Christ. But a liturgy, with its prescribed recitations and stipulated schedule, cannot replace a personal relationship with Christ. God wants to hear from each of us as individuals—our thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:34), praise (1 Chronicles 16:28), confession (1 John 1:9), and requests (Philippians 4:6). Prayer must not be relegated to just morning and evening, but we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). There is nothing wrong with praying a morning and evening prayer, but personalized prayer throughout the day is more important than ritual and liturgy.