One Daily Hour of Prayer
("Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." -Luke 10:42)
By Monk Preston
(Co-Founder and President, The Prayer Foundation)
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The sand, waves, and sky of God's beautiful Creation.
...a daily time of praying for an entire hour...
We are talking here, not about one of the "Hours" of Prayer in the sense of "times" of prayer, but about a daily time of personal prayer, of praying for an entire hour. Sitting at Christ's feet. Being in His presence.
I once (mistakenly and regrettably) read a book by a supposedly Christian woman who wrote (intending it as mockery) "nearly every Christian teacher says to pray for an hour a day, and get up early in the morning to do it". I later learned that she didn't even believe in The Trinity.
Perhaps there is a reason why "nearly every Christian teacher" teaches this. As a young Christian I was led to do the same by the Bible and by Christ's example, even as all the others also were.
"And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." -Mark 14:37,38
"And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." -Matthew 26:40,41
I remember a Christian who could never get around to praying until the end of the day---he always put everything else first---saying, "why am I always doing this at the end of the day?...I need to be having my prayer-time the first thing in the morning so that I receive the benefit of it for the entire day."
Of course, we have set times of prayer throughout the day, as well as turning our thoughts in prayer to God as often as it occurs to us. But here we are speaking of a special set aside longer period of personal prayer, in fact, of an entire hour so set aside.
This I have learned---if one desires to pray early in the morning, the single most important thing to insure success is in going to sleep early enough the night before.
This is so basic, so obvious, and yet so important that I will repeat it---if one desires to pray early in the morning, the single most important thing to insure success is in going to sleep early enough the night before."
"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." -Psalm 5:1-3
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." -Mark 1:35
"...But one thing is needful..."
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen required all of the Bishops he oversaw to commit to praying an hour a day for the rest of their lives. A teaching tape by him on this was used in the Seminar of the "Change the World School of Prayer".
In the mid-1970's I had already been praying an hour a day for several years when I attended an inspiring all-day Seminar held in a local Church taught by Dick Eastman, the Founder of the "Change the World School of Prayer" (I highly recommend it). It is a prayer encouragement ministry to set aside an hour a day in prayer. I again was blessed to be able to attend a class of his at a Christian Festival in the 'nineties. He is currently President of the "Every Home for Christ" ministry, formerly "Christian Literature Crusade".
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." -Luke 10:38-42
Copyright © 2007 S.G.P. All rights reserved.
The prayer-time mentioned (to the left) in the section "Morning Prayer", refers to a special "set-aside" and extended time of prayer; we set aside an hour a day of personal, individual prayer-time for this.
We also pray extemporaneously all throughout the day, whenever led by the Holy Spirit to pray, when a need arises, when asked by someone for prayer, when any person or pet or ourselves leave the monastery.
We give thanks upon their safe return, at all meals, or snacks, or before drinking anything.
These are so easy to observe at least the minimum prayers (The Lord's Prayer; The 23rd Psalm, and Psalm 117) that we observe them while working at a regular job, on the ski lift, or hiking or canoeing; or pull over for a few minutes, when bicycling or driving.
Does this sound burdensome? It is not a burden, it is simply our way of life.
Nor does God require any of it of us---it is a simply a natural voluntary response to His love.
"For this cause also we thank God without ceasing..." -I Thessalonians 3:13
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" -Luke 18:1;
"Pray without ceasing." -I Thessalonians 5:17). ______________