How long do I need to pray for? When should I have my quiet time with God? Is morning better? Or should I do it right before I go to sleep?
How long is enough? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 2 hours?
At some point, we’ve all had these questions in our mind.
Growing up, I’d confine my prayers to the last 2 minutes of each day. I’d quickly say, “thank You for the day, bless me and my family” and go to sleep.
When I was sixteen, I heard a preacher say at a retreat that we must spend atleast an hour a day in prayer.
Imagine telling a group of 16-year-old boys that.
We thought she was joking.
Now, at 28, I can’t seem to start my day without spending an hour in prayer.
I read somewhere that the average amount of time that a Christian spends in prayer per day is less than 15 minutes.
Now I don’t know if that is true, but imagine claiming to love someone, let’s say your wife or husband, and saying to them, ‘hey, I love you, and I am going to spend 15 minutes a day with you.’
Ridiculous, isn’t it?
But what is the answer? How long should we pray for on a daily basis?
Is there even an answer? Or is it more about the quality and depth of our prayer rather than the time we spend doing it?
One might argue that you could spend hours in prayer and yet miss the heart of God, which is definitely a possibility.
But is there an answer to how much time a Christian should spend in prayer?
I believe there is.
And the answer is this.
Spend the first hour of your day in prayer.
And spend the last hour of your day in prayer.
And then spend everything in between in prayer.
The answer to how much time you should be in communion with God is – all the time!
He is always there! Which means we can pray to Him and talk to Him at all times.
But how do we constantly talk to Him? Don’t we have other things to do?
Yes, of course. But we forget that prayer is not just us talking to God. It is also God talking to us.
Think about Jesus. Jesus spent hours in the morning in prayer, that’s true.
But He also said that He only did something the Father told Him to do. Which means He was always listening to His Father – even in the middle of his day to day work.
The difficulty is not in Him not being present. It’s in us not being present.
It is so easy to think, “oh, God is everywhere, so I can pray anytime”, but it is so difficult to actually be aware of His presence.
One of my most difficult disciplines in prayer has been to pause every hour for 5 minutes to remember that He is there. I’ve tried this with 10 other people and they’ve all said it’s been so difficult.
But, they all also admitted that it helped them so much in whatever they were doing, when they did actually manage to be aware of His presence.
I still struggle to pause in the middle of my work, to simply invite Jesus in.
But just to say, “Lord, help me in my work”, has made all the difference to me.
We should be praying all the time.
The question isn’t how much time you should spend praying per day. The question is – how much time are you spending NOT praying per day; and why?
What are the areas in your day to day activities that you are not inviting the Holy Spirit into?
Is it your time in the kitchen?
Or at your work desk?
Or when you are studying?
Or when you are on Netflix or Amazon Prime or on the TV?
Or when you are out with your friends?
Or even at Church?
Pause today. Be aware of His Presence. He has invited you into the fullness of life. Why aren’t you inviting Him into yours?
Do it today, and see the difference it can make.