The Bible tells us that prayer is something we are to be devoted to and that we should pray to our Father in Heaven in private as well as in public. Prayer is not something that we do in one specific location or at a particular time slot, but it is something we continually do throughout our day.
Where does the Bible say we should pray?
Jesus made it abundantly clear that since He has come into the world and died and rose from the dead for us, the location of our prayers makes no difference to God.
“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.” (John 4:21).
Jesus said this to the Samaritan woman when she told Him there was an argument between the Samaritans and the Jews about the location of worship.
Jesus gave her the above response and then He told her that it did not matter to the Father about where we worship Him but about the way in which we choose to worship Him.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
God is not concerned with where we worship, He only cares if we are worshipping in Spirit and in truth.
So what does it mean to worship in Spirit and in truth? And how do we know that we are doing it?
To worship in Spirit and in truth means that we are worshipping the Lord according to “the way” laid out in scripture. (Related article: Worship in Spirit and in Truth: What it is & How to do it).
“The way” is simply the way in which we access God.
We access Him by the blood of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins that we have received through calling upon His name, and we access Him with the Spirit of God.
This is why Paul said in Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
Notice, he said we have access to the Father, through Christ, and by the Spirit.
So through believing in Christ’s work on the cross we now can access the Father freely, and by the agency of the Holy Spirit, we now have the ability to access the Father.
The first (Christ’s work) gives us the right to access God, and the second (Holy Spirit’s indwelling) gives us the ability. We need both; Spirit and truth, to have a relationship with God.
Also, it is important to mention that “truth” doesn’t just mean believing in the finished work of the cross, but it also means sincerity. When we come before God we need to come before Him with pure desires, without the need to be seen by men.
Jesus made it clear that it is “the pure in heart” who shall see God (Matthew 5:8).
One way we can maintain purity in our prayer life is by following Jesus’ command about getting alone to pray.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
By getting alone to pray we are making it clear to God that we do not have any desire to be seen by people as “spiritual” but that we truly desire to have a relationship with Him through communion.
This verse is the only specification about where we should pray. But we need to remember that Jesus did not mean a literal room or prayer closet. He was driving home the point of getting alone.
So He was not referring to an actual prayer room but He was simply stating that we should get alone to have fellowship with God, without the need to be seen by people.
When does the Bible say we should pray?
The only verses about when we should pray tell us that we should pray “at all times” and “without ceasing”.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians (6:18).
“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
Now it is important to mention that we have two aspects of our prayer life. The first is getting alone with God to pray.
This is where we set apart time to get alone with God and we do this to have a more intentional and focused time with Him.
This is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew chapter 6 when He said, “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place.”
This type of prayer should be the foundation of our prayer life, but it should only be during certain times of the day because it is impossible to do everything we need to do in a given day if all we do is stay isolated with God.
Private prayer can be during anytime of the day. The Bible gives many examples of men spending time with God and they all did it at different times.
For example, David and Daniel prayed three times per day; morning, noon, and evening. Peter most likely prayed three times a day as well. One Psalmist prayed 7 times a day. Jesus prayed in the early morning and probably spent 2-3 hours in prayer, and He even sometimes prayed at night.
So just from these few examples, you can see there are many variations to the time of day that people prayed. The important thing is not at what time you pray but about the consistency in which you do it in. (Related article: 7 Tips to Develop and Maintain a Consistent Prayer Life).
Find a time that works best for you and do it. Is it in the morning before the kids wake up or before work? Is it during your lunch break or during your kid’s nap? Is it in the evening time before bed? Or is prayer time broken up into all three?
Whichever ones you choose God is pleased that you want to come and be with Him.
The second aspect of prayer is praying throughout our day. This is where the “praying without ceasing” and “at all times” comes in.
Paul did not mean that we should constantly be speaking to God every second of every day, rather he was meaning that we should live a lifestyle of prayer where every encounter we have, and under ever circumstance, we pray.
In other words, we maintain an attitude of prayer. We are consistently visiting prayer and worship throughout our day.
When people come to mind we pray for them. If we need help with work responsibilities, we pray. When we are doing something that doesn’t require much focus we sing to the Lord. When we find something to be grateful for, we thank God for it.
Prayer is meant to be our life because it is the channel in which we connect with God who is our life source.
So in short, don’t get hemmed up on where you should pray or when you should pray. Find a location and time that works best for you and learn to develop a lifestyle of prayer as you go throughout your day.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God!
God bless you!