127. Should I pray five times a day and recite prayers?

It is a noble thing to pray five times a day. It is noble to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This is praying at any time throughout the day as the Holy Spirit prompts the believer to pray. The Bible teaches Christians that they cannot pray effectively and according to the will of God unless they pray in the Spirit of God (Romans 8:26-28). It is the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of God and when we pray in the Holy Spirit He guides us to pray according to the will of God. James chapter 5 verse 16 encourages Christians that ‘The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.’ Christians view prayer as an intimate conversation with a personal God, who is interested in every aspect of their lives, and wants to be deeply involved in their decision making. To pray about everything is to honour God and respect His Divine wisdom. It is an expression of humility to consult God about everything. The spiritual communication between God and man is the evidence that God fully intended to create man as a spiritual being to live in a higher dimension than animals and the rest of his creation. Christians have the habit of praying before every meal, and when entering a house they pray a blessing from God on the house and its occupants. When Christians meet they usually open and close all meetings with prayer. Christians hold regular prayer meetings, prayer retreats, and prayer walks and pray about matters affecting the work of mission around the world, the local church, government and local social issues and needs.

The recitation of creeds in prayer is helpful for those beginning the journey of learning how to pray effectively. Jesus taught His disciples to pray what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer (found in Matthew 6:7 – 14). In congregational gatherings Christians still pray this prayer today. The prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray contains a structure that is helpful for prayer.

The structure includes:

i) Praise of the glory of His majesty

ii) Praying for the hope of His kingdom coming on earth

iii) Petition for personal needs

iv) Repentance from sin and asking for forgiveness

v) A commitment to forgive all who have offended us

vi) A request for strength to overcome temptation

vii) Adoration of God and His majesty

This is a helpful pattern for all our prayers no matter how many times per day we pray. Creating regular times to pray is a good discipline. However, the idea of praying without ceasing means that we can be conversing with God throughout our whole day regardless of posture or position.

In the hadith 414, according to Uthman, the Prophet of Islâm said: ‘To perform the late evening Prayer, (Isha), in congregation is equivalent to spending half the night in vigil, while to perform the dawn Prayer, (Fajr), in congregation is like keeping vigil throughout the night.