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TheHoursofPrayer
BiblicalTimesofMemorial
by:RobertSomerville

"PeterandJohnwenttogetherintothetempleatthe
hourofprayer."
Perhapsyouhaveneverconsideredit.Therearespecifichours
ofthedayordainedofGodwhichcanbeparticularlymeaningful
totheChristian'sprayerlife.JustassurelyasGodhasordaineda
memorialdayoftheweekforcorporateworship(togetherwith
annualdaysofcelebration),Healsoordainedspecialhoursofthe
dayforprayertobringparticularhonortoHimself.Thethree
Biblicalmemorialhoursofprayerarespecificallythethirdhour,thesixthhourandtheninthhour
oftheday,or9:00A.M.,12Noonand3:00P.M.Thesewereimportantprayerdisciplines
faithfullyobservedbytheOldTestamentsaints,theNewTestamentChurchandbyourLordJesus
Christ.ThehoursofPrayer"werecontinuallyhonoredbecausetheyweredivinelyappointed.The
practiceofobservingthemisbeingrestoredtotheprayersystemoftheBodyofChrist.
TheapostlesofJesus,knowingthevitalrolethatprayerplaysinthebeliever'sspirituallife,were
willingstudentsrequestingofJesus,"Lord,teachustopray".SincewearelivingintheTIMEOF
RESTORATIONandrenewaloftheChurch,thepracticeofhonoringtheBiblical"Hoursof
Prayer"canbeanotherenrichingelementofrestorationintheBodyofChristtobringnewlife.
Thesememorialhoursofprayerareelementsofperfectedworshipforreasonsthatweshall
explore.
Needlesstosay,prayerisanessentialelementtotheGodmanrelationship.ForthisreasonGod
saidthatHishouse(theChurch)"shallbecalledaHouseofPrayer"(Isaiah56:7).Prayerismore
importantthanfaith.Let'squalifythatbysayingthattheyareinterdependent.However,the
rewardsoffaitharecontingentuponourexpressionsofitthroughverbalpetitionorrequest.Jesus
putitmuchmoresuccinctlybysaying"Askandyeshallreceive".Overtheyearswehavebeen
inundatedwith"HowTo"booksonChristianliving.Booksonprayerhavebeennoexception.
Indeedtherehavebeensomegreatbookswrittenaboutthemeaningofprayer,propermethods,
purposeandmanycritiqueson"TheLord'sPrayer".Howevertheimportanceof,northeBiblical
conceptofhavingdaily"HoursofPrayer"haveyetbeenadequatelyaddressed.Itisoneofthose
referencesinthescripturethatweoften"readover"withoutreallyreading.Letusexamineit.
Thesespecifichoursofprayerareanintegralpartof"God'sDivinePrayerSystem".Considering
ourmoderndaypropensityfor"randomreligion"orextemporaneousspirituality,cloakedwith
suchpiousphrasesas"whenIfeelinspired",sometendtoshyawayfromanythingthatsmacksof
discipline,orderandregulationfearingtheravagesofritualismand/orlegalism.Whileitistrue
thatweshould"praywithoutceasing",thefactisthatmostofusdonot.Godknowsthehuman

spiritanditsintrinsicneedfordiscipline.ItisthisconditionthataccountsforHisneedtointroduce
somesystematicorregulatingelementsintotheworshiporderandprayerlifeofHispeople.The
spirituallifeisverysimilartothenaturallife,inthatifitisnotgivensomeguidanceand
programmingitwillsoonfallintonegligenceanddisarray.

Danielprayedthreetimesaday.
IntheOldTestamenterathehoursofprayerwerealsoknownasthehoursof"oblation"or
sacrifice(Daniel9:21,IIKings16:15).ItisrecordedthattheprophetDanielprayedthreetimesa
day(Daniel6:10).Danieldidnotpraythreetimesadayjustbecausehefeltstrangely"inspired"to
doit.HeprayedthreetimesadaybecauseitwaspartofhisGodlyJudaicheritage.Itwasa
meaningfulcomponentofhisdailyprayersystem.Althoughthisprayerpracticewasestablishedin
theOldTestament,asitrightlyshouldbe(Hebrews10:1),itismoreoftenmentionedintheNew
Testament.Thesehoursofsacrifice,orHoursofPrayer(particularlythethirdandninthhours)
werepropheticinnature.Jesusoursupremesacrificewascrucifiedinthethirdhouroftheday
(Mark15:25).Hiswitnessof"darknessatnoonday"occurredinthesixthhour(Mark15:3334
Matthew27:45).FinallyatthetimeoftheeveningoblationbeingtheninthhourJesusgaveupthe
ghostanddiedforthesinsoftheworld(Luke23:4446).Thesehoursofprayerare"Memorials"of
HimwhomadeitpossibleforyouandmetoentertheHoliestofHolies(spirituallyforourselves)
comingboldlybeforethethroneofGodinprayer,makingourpetitionsknown(Hebrews10:19).
WhatgreatermotivewouldtheChurchneedforrecognizingandgivingatleastoccasionalhonorto
theseHoursofPrayerthanbringinghonortoJesus?
TheNewTestamentisfilledwithgloriousaccountsofhowGodhashonoredthesespecialhours
byrespondingtoprayerinasignificantway.Herearesomeexamples:Itwasthethirdhouronthe
memorialdayofPentecost,whentheonehundredandtwentydiscipleswereintheupperroom
prayingforthepromiseoftheFatherwhencloventonguesoffiresatuponeachofthemandthey
wereallfilledwiththeHolySpirit(Acts2:3,15).Notonlywasitthepropheticday(Pentecost)but
alsotheprophetichour.
TheNewTestamentChurchcustomarilywenttothetempleatthehoursofprayer.Evidenceofthis
isrevealedintheaccountofamiraculouseventwhichoccurredataparticulartimewhentwoof
thedisciplesofJesuswereenteringthetempleshortlyafterthedayofPentecost:"NowPeterand
JohnwentuptogetherintothetempleattheHOUROFPRAYER,beingtheninthhour"(Acts
3:1).OnthisoccasionalamemanwasgloriouslyhealedwhentheapostlePetertookhimbythe
handandsaid,"SilverandgoldhaveInonebutsuchasIhavegiveIthee:InthenameofJesus
ChristofNazarethriseupandwalk...andimmediatelyhisfeetandanklebonesreceivedstrength"
(Acts3:67).Theywerenotatthetemplebyhappenstancenorrandomlyenteringthetemplebut
verydeliberatelydoingsoattheHourofPrayer.
NottobeoverlookedisthestoryoftheapostlePeterandCorneliusofCaesarea(Acts10).In
effect,itisareenactmentoftheDayofPentecost.Theonlymajordifferenceisthatitwas
happeningtoabodyofGentilesonthisoccasionratherthanabodyofJews.Godbegantosetthe
stageforadispensationalchange.ThethrustoftheGospelfromthispointon,wouldbefocusedon
theGentilenations.Theuniquecircumstancesofthisstoryweredivinelyorchestrated.Cornelius,
thoughasoldierintheRomanarmy,wasadevoutmanwho"prayedtoGodalway"andwasvery
liberalinhisalmsgiving.HewasinprayerabouttheninthhourwhenanangeloftheLord
appearedtohiminavisionandinstructedhimto"sendmentoJoppa,andcallforoneSimon,
whosesurnameisPeter".ThenextdayasCornelius'servantscametoJoppa,Peterwasalsohaving
aspiritualexperience."Peterwentupuponthehousetoptoprayaboutthesixthhour."Suddenly
hefellintoatranceandsawavisionofagreatsheetletdownfromheavenfullofallkindsof

uncleanbeasts.GodproceededtoinstructPetertoaccepttheseGentilesbecausetheyhadnow
beencleansed.ItwassimplyanobjectlessontopreparePeterforministrytoapeople(Gentiles)
whomheconsideredunacceptableforthekingdomofGod.HisobediencetoGodresultedina
greatoutpouringoftheHolySpirituponthehouse(family)ofCorneliusandconsequentlythe
Gentilenations.ItisobviousthatobservingthememorialHoursofPrayerwasavitalpartofthe
spiritualvaluesystemofbothofthesegreatmenofGod.

OfferingsandPrayer
Anotherimportantdimensionofprayerlifewhich
iscoupledwithHoursofPrayerrelatestoour
"gifts"orofferings.Jesusspokeofthiswhen
instructingthedisciplesaboutacceptableprayer
practices:"Thereforeifthoubringthygifttothe
altar,andthererememberestthatthybrotherhath
oughtagainsttheeLEAVETHERETHYGIFT
beforethealtar,andgothywayfirstbe
reconciledtothybrother,andthencomeand
offerthygift"(Matthew5:2324).
Prayerandofferingsgohandinhand.Gifts
shouldbeofferedatthetimesofprayer.In
biblicaltimesonedidnotcometotheHouseofGodtopraywithoutanoffering,evenifitwere
only"awidow'smite",especiallyatthehoursofprayer.Itcouldandshouldbethesedailyprayer
offeringsthataccumulateduringtheweekwhicharethenbroughttothechurchtobegivenat
weekendworshiptime.Ourchurchofferingsshouldnotbeofferingsofthe"discovery"nature
whichwehappentofindinourpocketsorpurseafterwearrive.Bringadeliberateofferingtothe
HouseofGod.

SecretCloset
Finally,JesusbeingaJewandwellacquaintedwiththisBiblicalprayersystem,nodoubthadthe
HoursofPrayerinmindwhenHetaughtHisdisciplesthevalueof"secretcloset"prayer.Public
demonstrationsofobservingtheHoursofPrayer"tobeseenofmen"isnotrecommended,
althoughthatwouldbebetterthannoneatall(ifvoidofselfpride).Jesussaid,"Butthou,when
thouprayest.enterintothycloset,andwhenthouhastshutthydoor,praytothyFatherwhichisin
secretandthyFatherwhichseethinsecretshallrewardtheeopenly"(Matthew6:6).Every
believershouldhaveaplacesetaside.Whetheritbeinourhome,onamountain,orelsewhere,itis
goodtohaveadesignatedplacetoobservetheseHoursofPrayer.One'shomeisparticularly
importantinthisregard.IntheirplanstobuildanewhomesomeChristiansarenowincludinga
speciallydesignedroomforuseasaprayerchapel.Itisa"soundproof"roomwherefulldisclosure
canbemadetoGodanduninhibitedpraisecanbeoffered.
WhenyouseepeoplebeingopenlyblessedofGod,youcanbereasonablyassuredthattherehas
beensomeactivityinthesecretprayercloset.Withadesignatedprayerplace,onetendstobemore
readilyremindedandactivatedtoasystematicprayerorderinhislife.

ChildrenofDarknessOftenWiser
TheMohammedanscustomarilyprayfivetimesaday.Thefirstprayerisperformedinthemorning
beforesunrise,thesecondjustafternoon,thethirdinthelateafternoon,thefourthimmediately
aftersunsetandthefifthbeforeretiringtobed.Instrictdoctrine,thefivedailyprayerscannotbe
waivedevenforthesick.Theyperformtheseprayersnomatterwhattheirsituationor
circumstance.Thesecommittedpeopleprayfivetimesadaywhethertheyareinanairplane,a
subway,anofficebuilding,inthegrocerystoreoroutonthestreet.Byandlarge,weinthe
Christiancommunityarenotasdiligent.Thatisastatisticalfact.PerhapsthewordsofJesusare
applicablewhenHestated,"...forthechildrenofthisworldareintheirgenerationwiserthanthe
childrenoflight"(Luke16:8).ThepointisthatGodalsohasaprayerscheduleworthyofhonor
andworthyofbeingincorporatedintoourreligiousactivities.TheMohammedanbible,calledthe
Koran,whichislittlemorethanacorruptionoftheHolyBible,requiresthattheyprayonlythree
timesaday.Throughthepassingoftimehowever,theMoslemshaveaddedtwoextrahourstothe
biblicalmandatebuttheChristiancommunityhasapparentlydeletedthemaltogether.Wehave
resortedtoselfdevisedprayerschedulestofitourparticularsituations.Perhapsthisisdueinpart
toournotbeingawareofthesebiblicaltruthsconcerningtheHoursofPrayer.ManyChristians
havenostandardizedprayersystem.Intruth,wehavebeengivenabiblicalsystembutithasbeen
neglected.

Conclusions
Prayerismeaningfulatanyhourofthedaybutthereisaddedsignificancewhenitisperformedat
thedivinelyappointedhours.ThemoredivineorderthatwecanrestoretotheBodyofChrist,the
morefavorofGodweshallreceive.TheobservanceoftheseHoursofPrayerisnotamatterof
salvation,butratheramatteroforderintheHouseofPrayer(theChurch)Isaiah56:7.
WhentheChurchputsallofthesecomponentsoftheBiblicalprayersysteminplace.itwillsee
moreoftheblessingsandapprovalofGod.Tryit.Evenifyoudogettossedintoadenoflionsfor
prayingthreetimesaday,you'llbeingoodprayercompanyandonthesideofvictorywithDaniel
theprophet.
Note:Thistreatiseiswrittenonthefollowingpremise:
a)TheJewish"day"comprised24hoursandwasdividedinto12hourperiodscallednightand
day,respectively(John11:9).
b)Thefirsthourof"darkness"beganat6P.M.andendedat7P.M.(ofthefirst12hourperiod).
c)Correspondingly,thefirsthourof"daylight"(ofthesecond12hourperiod)beganat6A.M.and
endedat7A.M.
ReferenceUnger'sBibleDictionarypages10981099.
Logically,thisdefines"HoursofPrayer"specificallyas:
3rdHour8A.M.to9A.M.
6thHour11A.M.to12Noon
9thHour2P.M.to3P.M.

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