In my society there is this odd thing being discussed or requested of people to pray i.e to spend one hour a day praying.

I do not understand why one needs to pray for one hour. The closest is the time Jesus asked if his disciples can not stay watch for one hour but this does not translate to one hour pray.

Can any one explain the notion of one hour prayer and where in the Bible does it teach us how long to pray?


2 Answers 2


When asked to teach his disciples how to pray, Jesus responds by saying 'when ye pray' but does not specify when, or how often or how long, Luke 11:1.

He then gives an example of prayer (and advises not to use it as mere repetition for he warns against such a thing elsewhere Matthew 6:7) and the example takes but a minute or two to actually voice.

There are many examples of prayer in scripture but I have never yet found a rule or a requirement about time or frequency.

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. [Luke 11:1-4 KJV]

Daniel (for example) used to pray three times a day but this was only discovered when he was put under constant surveillance so that some fault might be discovered whereby he could be prosecuted as prayer was forbidden at the time to any but the king, see Daniel 6:10-28.

But Daniel never commands anybody else to pray three times a day. It was just what he chose to do. Similar examples may be found in the psalms where psalmists promise (to God) to pray or give thanks. But this is between them and God himself. They do not demand it of others.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was in an extremity. He wanted company and support. But the disciples were weary and could not stay awake to watch during the hours of the night.

In the end God, the Father, sent an angel to strengthen Jesus in answer to his prayer, see Luke 22:43.

  • You might incorporate Paul's exhortation to pray without ceasing. Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 11:37
  • @MikeBorden To pray without ceasing is to pray for a specific thing and not to give up making repeated requests (at whatever times or frequencies one wishes to do so) for that specific thing. I don't see the relevance to the question, myself. I have seen some people lay impossible burdens on their fellow men using that text and I utterly abhor such cruelty, personally. One prays in faith, and prays (on whatever occasions one might do so) until one is granted one's need. Is what it means.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 15:12
  • It's not a burden if it's presented right. I don't limit prayer to just asking for stuff. I think Paul means keep the conversation going. Prayer is praise, petition, thanksgiving, worship, and any other thing one might imagine in a conversation with the heavenly Father. Paul is saying, "don't hang up the phone". Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:40
  • @MikeBorden Jesus says 'When ye pray enter into your closet and close the door and speak with your Father in secret'. Thus, when one has prayed, one opens the door and comes back out again.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 19:46
  • That has more to do with not praying so that others will notice and less to do with constancy, in my humble opinion. Commented Oct 17, 2020 at 9:47

Why should a Christian pray for one hour?

Traditional Catholics have a long tradition of praying for an hour before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We call this devotion an Holy Hour!

Holy Hour is the Roman Catholic devotional tradition of spending an hour in Eucharistic adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. A plenary indulgence is granted for this practice. The practice is also observed in some Anglican churches.

In 1673 Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque stated that she had a vision of Jesus in which she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This practice later became widespread among Roman Catholics.

The inspiration for the Holy Hour is Matthew 26:40. In the Gospel of Matthew, during the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:38) Returning to the disciples after prayer, he found them asleep and in Matthew 26:40 he asked Peter:

"So, could you men not keep watch with me for an hour?".

In 1829, the Archconfraternity of the Holy Hour was established by Père Robert Debrosse at Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, France. In 1911 it received the right of aggregation for the entire world. A similar society called "The Holy Perpetual Hour of Gethsemani" was formed in Toulouse in 1885 and was canonically erected in 1907. In 1909 it received indulgences from Pope Pius X.

The practice of a "daily Holy Hour" has been encouraged in the Catholic tradition, for instance Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a Holy Hour each day and all members of her Missionaries of Charity followed her example. The Holy Hour has been practiced by saints such as Gemma Galgani and Faustina Kowalska.

To keep watch with Jesus for one hour is to pray for one hour! For Jesus himself prayed during that above mentioned time frame.

  • A very insightful answer for the origin of the one hour prayer. Did not know of its Catholic roots. Now I believe people are borrowing from this and expect very one to pray for one hour, without understanding the real nature of prayer. Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 12:55
  • @AbilashAmarasekaran we do not expect all or even most to do this devotion. It is for Catholics a recommended private devotion.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 14:48

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