NO DOUBT you have observed that most organized religions emphasize elaborate houses of prayer and prescribe specific times of day when prayers should be offered. Does the Bible limit our prayers to certain places and times?
The Bible does show that there are fitting occasions for prayer. Before eating with his followers, for example, Jesus thanked God in prayer. (Luke 22:17) And when his disciples assembled for worship, they prayed together. They thus continued a practice that had long been carried out in Jewish synagogues and in the temple at Jerusalem. God intended the temple to be “a house of prayer for all the nations.”—Mark 11:17.
When servants of God assemble and pray together, their petitions can be effective. If the group is united in spirit and the prayer offered in their behalf reflects Scriptural principles, God is pleased. The prayer may even move him to do what he might not otherwise have done. (Hebrews 13:18, 19) Jehovah’s Witnesses pray regularly at their meetings. You are cordially invited to come to a Kingdom Hall near you and hear such prayers for yourself.
However, the Bible does not limit prayer to any particular time or place. In the Bible, we find a record of God’s servants praying anytime, anywhere. Jesus said: “When you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.”—Matthew 6:6.
We may pray anytime and anywhere
Is that not an inviting prospect? You can actually approach the Sovereign of the universe anytime, in complete privacy, and be assured that you will have his attention. Little wonder, then, that Jesus often sought to be alone in order to pray! Once, he spent an entire night in prayer to God, evidently seeking guidance on a most important decision.—Luke 6:12, 13.
Other men and women in the Bible record prayed when faced with weighty decisions or daunting challenges. Sometimes they prayed aloud and sometimes silently; they prayed when in groups and when alone. The important thing is that they prayed. God even invites his servants: “Pray incessantly.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) He is willing to listen endlessly to those who do his will. Is that not a loving invitation?
Of course, in today’s cynical world, many wonder about the practical value of prayer. You may ask, ‘Will it really help me?’