In the first article, I wrote on definitions on prayer, when prayer starts and some of the components of prayer. While in the second article I finished my brief exegesis on components of prayer. The third article is centered on those who should pray. The fourth is on some of the reasons why talk (pray) to our heavenly father. The fifth article is on places of prayer while the sixth and seventh centered on occasions that move men to pray unto God.
In this article, I shall be talking on period (time) that men can pray.
8. Time That We Can Pray
Before I advance on this, I would like to share this with us that, there is difference between time and season, although they are interwoven, but the little difference there, I will want to share.
Time talks about the present hour, minute...but season spans through years, months, days. That is why a local singer sings that, “we only have dispensation or season, but no one can have the world that is all the times and seasons of the world”.
Explaining what that means, the democracy of the world fits into the explanation perfectly, we have presidents who have duration (or seasons) that they could use on the seat of power, after that another person would be voted into the office. The time the president was governing the country is his or her season, but after that someone would occupy the position which shows that the season has passed.
It is same with some rich people in the world, in Nigeria sometimes back, the richest person was the person called chief M. K. O. Abiola whom many people do not know exists today, because all his establishments were not in existence again. His period or season has passed. It is same with some rich people today, tomorrow, some other people may overtake them and become the richest persons, which means their seasons have gone.
There were times when Aristotle, Pythagoras, Shakespeare and co were the forces to be reckoned with during their days, but today, if not that some of them are being studied in universities many people would not hear about them. Because their seasons have gone, we are in another season.
People can rule, dominate for a while, for seasons but not forever, for they will die, we shall all die one day. Thus, the writer says, “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecc. 3:1)
Having shed light on that, let us see times when we can pray as found of some people in the bible.
(i) Every Time/Always
Jesus and apostles enjoined us that we should pray always.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” (Lk. 18:1; see also Eph. 6:18; Phil. 1:4; Col. 1:3)
The Greek word for always here is “πάντοτε”, Romanized form is pantote (pronounced as pan'-tot-eh) this derives its meaning from another Greek word which is “πᾶς”, Romanized form is pas (pronounced as pas) which means all, any, every, the whole (time), ever (more), every when.
The parable of Jesus has the connotation on the hearts of his hearers that he wants them to ever (more) be praying unto their father and his father. (Joh 20:17) He thence is not saying less to you and I today.
(ii) Pray Without Ceasing (Ceaselessly)
Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Saints in Thessalonians told them that they should “pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17)
Greek word for without ceasing here is “ἀδιαλείπτως”, Romanized form is adialeiptōs (pronounced as ad-ee-al-ipe'-toce) which derives its meaning from another Greek word which is “ἀδιάλειπτος”, when this word is Romanized for those of us in other parts of the world it becomes adialeiptos (phonetic spelling is ad-ee-al'-ipe-tos). The word is a derivative of a compound which is unintermittedly, permanent, continual, uninterruptedly and without omission.
The apostle enjoins the believers then and presently that we should pray without omission, we should permanently pray.
When we still live in the world, we shall continue to breathe in air and exhale carbon dioxide so the scientists say, except for those who have died that cannot do that again. Then, we should see prayer as our breath, that is what the apostle means by praying without omission, praying without being interrupted daily.
Because we cannot omit breathing, it is what keeps us going. In the same vein we should not omit prayer, we need to continue to do it.
(iii) Before Food
Before we eat, we are enjoined to pray, thanking God for such provision, for the sound health to eat the food, for there are people who want to eat but do not have, some have but they do not have the health to eat the meal. When we have both we cannot but appreciate the Lord who has spared our lives and bless us with the meals.
“And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” (Acts. 27:35)
We shall recall that Jesus also did this when he wants to provide for the multitude, he blessed the meal before them. (Mat 15:36; Mar 8:6; Luk 24:30; Joh 6:11, 23; Rom 14:6; 1Co 10:30-31)
(iv) Before Performing Miracle
Because some have been given the gift of miracle, they sometimes overlook this aspect of prayer before spraying for miracle and healing to happen on people they ministered to.
“But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” (Acts. 9:40; Jn. 11:41)
(v) Prior to Taking a Step
It is essential for someone who is a child of God to talk to his father before taken any step (or decision) in the world, this is because we are strangers in the world like our fathers are. (Psa 39:12; 119:19)
“And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” (I Sam. 30:8)
We shall recall that David often would pray before taken any step. This should be our habit too. After the prayers, whatever comes out of it, we should believe God is there and he is at work, and he knows what is best for us, even when what we prayed for does not happen as we have expected it to happen, he still has our best interest at heart.
(vi) During departure
While departing a place, while leaving the brethren most especially we should pray with them and of course pray for ourselves too, pray about the trip.
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” (Acts. 20:36)
(vii) Evening, Morning, Noon
The Psalmists talk about praying evening, morning and noon. When we get out of bed, we should appreciate God, when we are at offices and or about to go for break, we should talk to him and in the evening at home with our families or if we are living alone, we are enjoined to pray to him.
“O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Ps. 22:2)
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (55:17)
It should be our habit talking to our heavenly father every day.
“Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.” (Ps. 86:3)
Some make prayers their every other day event or activities, this should not be said of us. As this man cries unto him daily so ought a good spiritual child to be crying unto his father daily.
(ix) During the Hours of Prayers
It was said that the Israelis do observe the hours of prayer, and these hours of prayer some in this part of the world still observe, most especially when they are on marathon fasting. Those hours of prayers: 12:00pm - 3:00pm - 6:00pm - 9:00pm -12:00 (0:00 hours) – 3:00am – 6:00am – 9:00am are still considered sacrosanct by some people in this part of the world and they consider those hours as the hours that God disseminates his angels to answer petitions while at the same time, the Devil also does send his demons out at those hours to inflict people with troubles and injuries.
The apostles after Jesus departure also maintained these hours presumably from what they have been taught by the religious leaders of their days and perhaps Jesus for he says he has not come to abolish the laws.
And it was at one of the hours of prayers that Apostles Peter and John healed the cripple man at the entrance of the beautiful gate of the temple.
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.” (Act 3:1 see also Act 10:3, 30)
Having seen the times that the saints of old pray, we can also follow them in ensuring that we talk to our father always.
In the next article, I shall be writing on how we should be praying.
© 2020 OLUSEGUN