Time to Pray

I’m a detail person.

If the bathroom rug isn’t even with the lines on the tile floor,
I might straighten it.

If the dish towel hanging on the oven door handle is wrong side out,
I might turn it around.

If there are two pillows on one end of the couch,
I might move one down to the other end.

I just notice things.

Sometimes I intentionally leave the rug all wonky, or the towel inside out, or the couch unbalanced just to make sure I don’t become a raging perfectionist. Details matter to me, though, so when one jumps out at me from the pages of the Bible I sit up and pay attention. Like this one:

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer —
at three in the afternoon.” Acts 3:1

Why the specific mention of this exact time of day?
It seems details matter to God.

Three o’clock in the afternoon was a Jewish regularly scheduled time of prayer. It was the precise moment when the sacrificial lambs were slaughtered in the temple. People were called to the holy place to be there as witnesses to the cost of their sin and to receive forgiveness. The congregation recited a brief prayer together and then went on with the rest of their day.

On most days, by 3:00 p.m. I’m in need of a moment to pause and “re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God”*. It’s an appropriate hour to remember the Lamb of God, who died at exactly 3 o’clock on a Friday afternoon.

I’ve always considered set times of prayer to be unnecessarily structured. After all, I don’t live in a monastery and I tend to throw up prayers all day long. But if Peter and John did it, I decided I should give it a shot. To make that happen, I set an alarm on my phone and at the appointed hour, the sound of angelic harps reminds me it’s time. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I stop for just a minute and say a brief prayer.

Most of my creativity and energy has been expended by late afternoon, yet there are still several hours left in the day. So I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me up once again that I may finish the day well. I thank my Father for the gift of time and pray He helps me redeem it, not waste it. I reflect on the moment my salvation was won on the cross and I express my gratefulness to Jesus.

What started as an experiment has turned into a lovely afternoon time-out to recalibrate my soul. It’s proving to be a holy habit that is keeping my spirit connected to The Spirit.

*This phrase is taken from the Lectio 365 prayer app.

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9 thoughts on “Time to Pray

  1. This idea intrigues me. I can easily believe a 3 o’clock prayer time would refocus me. I suspect I’d miss a lot of these times due to being busy with friends or family, though.

    • You could pick a time that might be better for you, but the point is that it will be an interruption no matter what time of day you try it. And honestly, I only spend about 30 seconds on the prayer. If I’m in the middle of a conversation or something, I’ll wait until I’m done. It’s not meant to be a hard and fast rule or law. Just something to pull me out of the world and enjoy His presence at a time of day I tend to be losing my steam. If you try it, let me know what you think!

  2. I try to pray every morning first thing and last act before sleeping at night..
    But hey ….
    A thought just hit me!
    It is 3:00pm somewhere all Day Long!
    I hope God has a flood of prayer s and praises sent 24 hours a day
    Enjoying your stories of faith
    Thank you

    • I will look into that app! Thanks for the suggestion! I was not raised in a liturgical tradition, so the Divine Hours prayers are pretty new to me. Fascinating and fun to learn about!

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