Why Morning Prayer Is Not Essential For The Christian Life

I will explain why I feel morning prayer is not necessarily essential to the Christian life or the best time to pray, as some claim. Foremost, I want you to understand that Chris and I share an admiring friendship and it allows us to see differently, where we might, and maintain godly fellowship.

Also, two things I wish to highlight now: 1) My argument concerns the significance of prayer made at the start of one’s day as opposed to later in the day by those who claim or imply that it is the best time for prayer; and 2) that I write as one who has practiced morning prayer and can attest to its benefits; however, I do not prefer or recommend a morning prayer routine.

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Morning Prayer Is Not Essential Because…

No. 1 – God, the scriptures, and history do not establish a precedent for morning prayer.

People commonly use two passages to argue for the primacy of morning prayer. They read: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You” (Ps. 63: 1, NKJV); and “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Early, as some Bible versions reflect, does not mean time of day; instead, it describes David’s search, which other versions properly convey: with earnestness or eagerness. The Mark passage can be easily countered with Luke 6:12: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Christian prayer practices in the earliest history of the church prove just as varied. Moreover, we find no command from God about when we should pray. 

No. 2 – Solitude is essential to the Christian life. 

The establishment of spiritual discipline in the heart is imperative to one’s formation. Solitude is the practice of withdrawing from others to give time to inner reflection. Quiet, reflective spirits are quickly receptive to the Holy Spirit. If those who argue for morning prayer are implying this point, then fine; however, they miss the point that solitude can be created in chaotic times and places.

No. 3 – We should pray when our hearts are most receptive and our minds are most alert.

This is primarily the reason why I do not opt for early prayer. As I stated, morning prayer works. It trained my heart and ordered my day, valuable spiritual benefits for anyone. It called my attention to the holy before any distraction or disruption. But getting up early to pray sometimes felt like a chore, and I wasn’t always as alert as I desired to be. By late afternoon, my prayer time could seem long gone. Contrarily, I know that mid-morning to mid-afternoon is my mental prime period. Thus, it is better for me to pray when my focus is strong, and I prefer it that way. I feel that the time of prayer serves our schedule and ability to focus on God, which I understand is why some morning advocates may suggest as much. But everyone’s hearts and minds are not receptive and alert in the morning; so prayer then just won’t be “the best” time for them.

 No. 4 – A fixed hour of prayer is better than a required morning routine. 

From what I’ve already stated, what is essential is that we pray at all and that our prayers are characterized by solitude, focus, and, now, consistency. If a person chooses to be consistent at the very start of his or her day, I cannot argue against that. But more important than viewing the morning as the best time to pray, I would prefer an individual to be perfunctory about it. This trait was formative to my prayer life as an adolescent. I met God each day at 3 o’clock—sharp. Thereby, prayer became a habit and a monumental aspect of my spiritual foundation today.

No. 5 – God always hears our prayers. 

A morning prayer is no less heard than a prayer made on the busiest corner of Los Angeles at the height of rush hour. Further, a prayer is not more acceptable because it is prayed in the morning as opposed to some other time of day. This is not like comparing broccoli to fries. God hears every prayer and is honored that anyone should call to him. So let’s avoid spats and be dutiful to pray and so capitalize on the relationship we are given to share with our Father.


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4 responses to “Why Morning Prayer Is Not Essential For The Christian Life

  1. Jon Stallings

    Great thoughts Chris. The important issue is that we pray.

    • Thanks. This post is actually from another blogger named Michael. He and I are doing a mock debate this week over the best time to pray. Tomorrow, I’ll rebut what he wrote today. Then on Friday, I’ll discuss the important issue that we pray and what it is.

  2. Pingback: My Response To: Why Morning Prayer Is Not Essential To The Christian Life | Devotions by Chris Hendrix

  3. Pingback: Pray Without Ceasing | Devotions by Chris Hendrix

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