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How Long Should You Pray Each Day?

    How Long Should We Pray?

    I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer. – Martin Luther

    Allison, my wife, was talking to a friend the other day who wanted to grow in intimacy with the Lord. As she listened, this friend shared a conversation she had with a mentor about the topic. The mentor asked her how long did she spend reading the Bible each day, which this lady responded, two hours. Where you and I would congratulate and even admire this devotion, her mentor pointed out this was the problem. She said, “if you want to grow in intimacy with the Lord, you will need to spend at least four hours each day reading your Bible.”

    Like the Luther quote above, this suggestion is simply impractical for most of us. The average person works at least 40 hours a week plus a couple hours of commute time. Others have kids at home and have even less time. Spending four hours reading the Bible and three hours in prayer is practical for the monastery, but how does the average person grow in the Lord when they can’t make 7 hours of discipline time each day? How long should we pray?

    How Long Should I Spend With My Wife Each Day?

    God gave us the sacrament of marriage to reveal to us how He wants our relationship with Him to be like (Ephesians 5:31-32). I love spending time with my wife. I would gladly give days on end to spend alone with her, but we have kids and they need looking after. We also have work that needs to be done, so unlimited time doesn’t happen. In fact we have to structure time together to make sure we maintain our intimacy.

    Every night my wife and I go to bed at the same time. We take that time together to talk, to catch up on our day, to hang out together, and to pray. We done this for 17 years now, and it has been life-giving to our marriage. But sometimes we need more time than this. Time with God is very similar.

    Why Ask How Long Should You Pray?

    What is the purpose of setting a pray time? Is it so you can check it off and then do what you want the rest of the day? Is it so you can feel God will bless you? The purpose of praying is spending time with God. Therefore finishing your prayers is not a form of relief to release you to your day. It was never meant to be a duty but a privilege. We have access to the throne of God by way of the cross (Hebrews 4:16). It is a precious gift.

    How Long Should You Pray Each Day?

    How long should we pray? It all depends. How long do you want to spend time with God? How much time does He want to spend with you (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? How much time do you need? What are you looking for from your time with Him?

    Any set time we impose on other people, even as short as a few minutes, creates a trap into religion. Missing a week of prayer will not make God love you less or remove His blessings from you. It doesn’t mean you stopped loving Him. Prayer is communication with God and the source of our connection with Him. It is like any other relationship, we need to talk in order to fuel the relationship.

    How Do We Maintain Intimacy With God?

    Just as I set aside time each night with my wife, we can set aside some connection points with God in prayer to talk and listen. But, there may be seasons when we need something more like a “date with God”. He may call us to fast some things to give us more time with Him. Let’s be sensitive to the Spirit about what we need. We are not earning God’s favor, we are opening ourselves up to deepen our awareness of His love for us.

    Spending three hours in prayer each day doesn’t necessarily make you closer to God. Spending five minutes in prayer doesn’t make you less close to God. The connection is unique to each of us. Let the Spirit guide you and let’s bask in God’s desire to spend time with us.

    Check Out These Resources to Grow Your Intimacy With God

    29 thoughts on “How Long Should You Pray Each Day?”

    1. Great post Kevin.

      I found a challenge in Paul’s instruction to pray at all times but I think it was because of my misunderstanding as to what prayer really is. I had assumed it was lengthy prayer, kneeling or quiet in a room or chapel. But when I came to understand that prayer is simply talking to God, I realised I truly could pray at all times. It’s basically continuing a conversation throughout our waking moments.

      So there are times when I can spend 5 mins or 1/2 praying, quietly in my room. But then the conversation continues throughout the day.

      Take care and be blessed

      1. Dear Caroline,

        Thank you for your comment. I agree that instruction is very challenging with most people’s understanding of what prayer actually is. It is so much freer to realize your entire life can be prayer by just keeping your connection open to Him.


    2. Here is my 2 cents on the topic.

      It does not matter how busy you are you can always spare some time to pray. Even if its a couple of minutes, that fine too. God understands.

      We are busy people nowadays, and are getting busier by the minute. So sometimes we need to get creative to make some time. You will be amazed with what you come up with.

      I for instance made my daily boring commute to work a time for prayer. The only thing you need to learn is to shut out all the distracting noise around you.

      I can tel you that my commute is not a drag anymore, it has become my special time for prayer. 🙂


      1. Dear Max,
        Thank you for sharing. This is absolutely right. There is always time to pray. The point is not to beat ourselves up about the amount of time, but just continue to come every time we remember Him.
        Thanks for sharing your how you made use of your commute. May it give some others ideas of how to redeem moments of their lives.

    3. I enjoyed this article as I am seeking a deeper relationship with the LORD. Praying without ceasing to me is continuing to talk to God throughout the day. Sometimes I like to pray when I take my walks some mornings, and then there are other times when I have a set time early morning hours before things gets too busy. I enjoy the quietness of the morning hours. Some mornings I may be tired but God understands and I lay on my bed and meditate on the Word of God. I love spending time with God, no matter how long or short the time. As long as I stop to pray each day. Thanks for this wonderful article.

      1. Dear Lora,
        Thank you for sharing what you do in prayer. Prayer can look like so many different things as long as our hearts are directed toward God. May your comment be an encouragement to others about what prayer can look like.

    4. I happen to typically agree with the first comment by “bunnyb1802”, where our prayer time is really a conversation with God that can occur throughout the day, and even if it gets interrupted by something, it can be picked right back up where it was left off. However, I do have a question. Lately, I have been wondering if God views prayer as that same thing, or does He expect it to be more? Does just talking with God throughout the day (whether it be telling my feelings or commenting on something) actually “count” as praying to Him?

      1. Dear Rachel,

        Great question. My initial response is yes it counts and yes prayer is also more. Not more as better than talking to God throughout the day, but there are other aspects to prayer than just making conversation. Sometimes we are to pull on the relationship with questions, and sometimes God pulls on the relationship by making requests of us.


      2. The thing is, talking to God throughout the day is really good, but when you somewhere by yourself and you started to pray is kind a different this is where you will be more concentrated and the spirit of God can show you different things. Things like what you have to improve on, if you doing something wrong he can communicate with you to stop during that, He can also show you certain people to pray for as well. All of these things can be considered there’s always something new for you when you get to His presence.

    5. Thank you for your encouraging article. When I first met Jesus I loved spending time with Him in His presence… but it soon became something I felt obligated to do. Now, almost 20 years later, prayer has become for me an overwhelming burden. I feel such a great responsibility to pray for everything and everyone every day… and with the endless needs in this world that burden is impossible to bear. On top of that I feel I also need to spend sufficient time just listening for His voice, or worshiping, etc. Not to mention reading His Word. I feel that so much of my life has been spent in my “prayer closet” that I have no time to live life. Yet, when I try to lessen my prayer time I carry such feelings of guilt and selfishness. Lately I’ve become so exhausted that I just don’t want to pray anymore. I don’t want to ask God for anything else, and I don’t understand why He wants us to if He already knows. I’m thankful God knows my heart. I know He is faithful, and I wait with hope for Him to bring me to that place of joyful, continual communion with Him where my prayer to Him becomes effortless and completely led of His Spirit and not my trying. Thanks for reading, and thank you again for the encouraging words.

      1. Dear Weary,
        Thank you for commenting. I completely understand your experience. I’m glad this post was helpful. I pray that you re-find that joyful experience from when you first knew the Lord. Even though prayer may have become a burden, I feel your heart of love is still there. God can help bring that joy back with that time with Him.

      2. Hi, there you know it is advisable that we should pray everyday, I know sometime when we have to pray it is a bit hard but the spirit of God is always here to help you and strengthen you. My best advise is, to balance your prayer life and time to enjoy life but in a way that glorified God as well. If you see that you wake up a morning that you can pray for 1:30 go for it if more go for it as well. But sometimes you may wake up feeling tired and you have to pray for30 or 15 minutes do it. Whatever you doing, do it with conviction so that you don’t sin while doing it. Pray to God so that he can help you balance your social life and your prayer life. I know it is not easy but with the spirit of God there’s nothing he cannot do. me myself, I am a living testimony. Sometimes it worth looking at the time which is is better for you to pray longer like I am a person that love to pray in the night, I will prayer for one hour twenty minutes or more in the night for most nights but in the morning I barely pray for one hour.

      3. Dear Weary,
        God does not want you to feel guilty and selfish. God loves you unconditionally and does not provide a checklist for an amount of time to pray. If you feel guilty it is more difficult to serve him. It seems to me you have false guilt. Rather than worry about prayer time, which is legalistic, ask God how you can be more like Christ in your everyday interactions. Then try to act like Christ. Help the sick, poor, etc and be a kind person to the best extent you can for that day. You are a work in progress. God knows your intention and your heart. Communicate as necessary but know that you are not disappointing Him.

    6. We must spend much time with God in private prayer. This isn’t an option, it’s a command. Pray and watch is the commandment given to the Church. We must spend time praising, thanking and worshiping God in spirit and truth. Little prayer means little power. Much prayer, much power. Without prayer you won’t grow into a mature Christian. You will never be everything you are meant to be in Christ. That’s why getting up a little earlier than usual, around 5:00am, is very important. It’s not easy, but Jesus is worth it. Our time, isn’t ours but God’s. Jesus said to His disciples, could you not pray at least one hour? Prayer is what helps us not fall into temptation.

      1. Dear John,
        Thank you for you comments. I think it is great to set aside private prayer times each morning. I feel your convictions for yourself may be coming out as a rule for others. Jesus’ comment to His disciples about praying for an hour came at a crucial point during His time on earth. In His prayer Jesus is sweating blood. It was in this time He asked them to pray. There were times Jesus stayed up all night to pray. Other times He started at night then went for a walk on the water while it was still dark.

        The thing is Jesus did pray and He prayed often, but it wasn’t always for an hour every morning. I do want to be careful not to talk someone out of having an hour prayer time each morning, but I also want to remove the guilt those who are struggle with 10 minutes get from such lofty demands.

        Thanks again for coming to the site and sharing your thoughts.


    7. A top secret is to praise an worship less asking an encourage many spent at the book of plsam where many will more about worship for God seeketh such don’t be like a Samaritan woman who do not know whom she was worshipping strengthen yourself daily in the Lord like David may God make you an intercessor in the might name of Jesus name

    8. Hello I Google what time should we pray and I come across this article. For some days now I find it difficult to pray simply because I feel God is not answering my prayers and also I don’t know what to say again. What should I do to overcome this feeling

      1. Dear Jessi,

        The best way to overcome this feeling is to continue to pray. We often when people get discouraged in ways like you mention that they quit praying. This is the biggest mistake as you will never progress this way. Continue to pray while also continuing to explore your questions. Ask God for answers.

        Probably the most practical thing I would suggest is for you to start journaling your prayers. Don’t worry if they are not something anyone would want to read, the journaling process is only for you to practice. Ask God the questions you get, then write what you feel He may be saying to you. Don’t worry if it is not Him… you can judge the certainty of what you write afterwards. Journaling helps you to keep moving forward in practice of praying.

        God wants to meet with you. That is the reason Jesus died… to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18). I pray you experience all of the closeness God wants for you.



    10. I agree with most of the comments but I also remembered that our LORD JESUS CHRIST asked us to “Watch and pray so that we don’t fall into temptations”. Spiritually we are in a battlefield and a token prayer life will lead to defeats. I used to find prayer laborious until I started hearing from GOD and with the help of the HOLY SPIRIT I am starting to enjoy prayer and by the grace of GOD I am hoping to maintain a healthy prayer life. I understand that we have to juggle our life and every other thing but prayer must remain a priority. Martin Luther stated ” I know I have so much to do so I spend the first 3 hours in prayer”. We might not all be in a monastery but prayer (which is one of our most effective tool against the devil) should never be optional. If you are struggling in prayer, ask the LORD to help you by relying on the HOLY SPIRIT and also try to organised your life to have time for the LORD. Some people spent so much time on their job, watching TV till late hence they cannot wake up early to pray. I believe that the number of hours you spend before the LORD really matters and that sets the Spiritual tone of the day. When you pray you not only have intimate time with the LORD, you also arrest the forces of darkness around. Most of the defeats being experienced in Christianity today are invariably linked to Christians failing pray. The other faiths take their prayer time seriously but in Christianity it seems optional. Just like a pilot the number of hours you have flown is very important. The same is applies to prayer.

      1. Dear Pastor Chidi,
        I appreciate your answer and understand your point. However, I am also aware that there are some that push the length of prayer over the actual connection. So many people are overwhelmed by what they “have” to do in prayer that they don’t even try. This is a shame. Connection with God, as you stated by hearing from God with the help of the Holy Spirit, is an amazing benefit of the kingdom. Once you start this, praying unceasing becomes a possibility. Keeping a timer to your prayer to measure how long will never have that same connection.

        My goal is not to get people to pray more but to get more connected with God. If people are getting connected with God, then we can try to go for more of that.


        1. Dear Kevin

          Thanks for your reply. Every believer has to start from a practical level (setting aside dedicated hours for prayer) and then progress to the Spiritual level/revelation level i.e the level of being fully connect with the ALMIGHTY GOD. One of the key issues in Christianity today is that progress are not always measured or bench-marked.

          I understand your point about the connection with the LORD but our LORD JESUS HIMSELF was quite specific with the “amount/duration” of watching/prayer when HE asked HIS disciples “Could you watch with ME for an hour?” (Matt 26v40, Mark 14v37). It can be inferred that HIS disciples did some watching/praying but it wasn’t enough. It takes different levels of prayer to accomplish different feats. Moreover, a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. Every great feats (healing, revival etc) that took place both before e.g. Elijah calling down fire or the Azusa Street revival had been preceded by intense season of prayer by ordinary men and women.

          My advice is for people to honour the LORD with their time by setting out a part of their time each day to seek the LORD. Initially it seems mechanical/laborious (I felt like that myself) but the more you keep drawing near the LORD, HE will begin to draw near to you as well and you will either begin to hear from HIM or feel HIS presence. That is the pattern we see through the BIBLE and that is also what I have seen in my life and many other peoples lives.

          GOD bless

          1. Pastor Chidi,

            Absolutely it is a progression. The disciples were with Jesus for three years before Jesus makes this statement about praying with Him for an hour. And, we have to remember this was a specific and special occasion, right before Jesus started the suffering of heading to the cross and being abandoned. I don’t think He was trying to get them to pray for an hour, He seems surprised after all this time with Jesus and knowing the importance of this night, they couldn’t even pray an hour.

            There are amazing things that come from prayer. Your example of Azusa Street is one of them. William Seymour would delay the start of meetings until He felt released from his prayer times, and history records the miracles that took place there. William Booth of the Salvation Army called specific men to pray throughout the meetings for the salvation of souls. He would delay the ending of a meeting until he felt there was sufficient pray over those that came.

            There is a balance needed in the teaching of prayer. We often do pray too little. However, we can’t be so burdened with prayer that we feel we are trying to earn God’s favor.

            Pastor Chidi, I so appreciate your comments here. While I eagerly want people to experience the joy of prayer, there is still needed the call to the disciple of prayer. Thank you.

            I pray that the blessings, joy and miracles of God overflow in every area of your life.


    11. Kevin

      Thanks for the open conversation and the respectful way you have responded to the comments and opinions of other Christians. This conversation reminds me of the rules beyond the Law burdened on God’s people by Pharisees and Sadducees.

      I came looking for advice on the question of prayer as it had been communicated to me that I needed to follow Jesus’ example and pray 6 hours a day. I couldn’t find this consistent calculation in the Bible.

      I walk away from reading the comments and you guidance recognizing I am not praying as much as “I need to pray” based on my wrestlings as my prayer has dropped off significantly. I believe what God wants from each varies. The poor widow who gave out of her poverty vs the wealthy giving out of their surplus seems to provide a guide for prayer for all of us.

      I am increasing “my prayer” and giving to God as he is dealing with me. I encourage others to seek out what he wants of them by asking him in prayer, less by applying a pre-set time.

    12. truly the time a person spends on doesnt matter , God wants our commitment when we talk to him,and what you do is what determines God’s unmerited fellowship with you.

    13. Thanks for this.
      Prayer should be as long as the Spirit leads.
      When always long could sometimes be only for the flesh to say I did it for this long.

      When it is according to the leading of the Spirit, whether short or long, will be exciting and rewarding. More enjoyable and blessed.


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