How familiar are you with the ancient practice of “fixed-hour prayer” or as other traditions call it “daily offices” or “divine hours”? With its roots coming directly out of Judaism, it is one of the oldest surviving habits within Christian spirituality. Across the Roman empire a forum bell rang every 3 hours each day, beginning at 6 in the morning, reminding the people of their responsibilities. As the bells rang, individuals or groups would take time to offer up prayers of praise in recognition of God’s character and worth. In the New Testament there is clear evidence this practice was an important part of the daily routine for believers. While the popularity of this has changed through the centuries, using both the Psalms and some newer resources like the Book of Common Prayer, there are many believers who continue today to find “fixed-hour prayer” a foundational practice for their spiritual faith and growth.
Evidently Daniel was in the habit of turning to God at least three times daily – Daniel 6: 10. Have you ever wondered where his strong resolve, his wisdom, his strength of character, and his courage came from? He and his brave friends were among a select group of young men who were captives in a foreign country. The king had changed their names and was eager to entice them into a whole new way of life, but they were determined to be faithful to God. First it was the fiery furnace for his friends. Then it was the lions’ den for Daniel. Through it all, they continued to believe God was their strength, their protector and their provider. Even the king finally acknowledged the reason Daniel survived was “because he trusted in his God.”
Is it possible that establishing the routine habit of bowing down before the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, every few hours, consistently and intentionally, could create in you and me a holy reverence, a deeper faith in Him and a stronger commitment to listen to His voice and to do life His way? What do you think?