5

Why the protestants, (and I exclude Lutherans & Anglicans, maybe some Methodists too), don't have a daily prayer rule ? Even if it isn't as elaborate as the Catholic or Orthodox ones, they can surely come up with a daily prayer structure.

Then why won't/don't they?

For example, They could take sections from the Bible, prayers by early saints, church fathers etc and create one.

  • Dividing the day into section for prayers means people have something common in faith to do daily and a chance to come together & pray.

  • Even if they are alone, they could pray & have a feeling of praying with others(would be especially comforting to new converts, people who stay alone or at remote places).

  • People go to the gym at specific times, they eat at specific times. They spare, divide & fix times of the day for every other activity. Then why not for prayer ?

  • There are parts in the Bible where Apostles are shown going to the temple for their daily prayers at specific hours. Together or alone, they are shown doing it.

Protestants go to remote places for new converts, they stress the need for prayer, they stress the need for community, self sufficiency in prayer, they especially stress the need for following the apostles and Bible.

Then why isn't the daily prayer practice followed ?

Old Testament

Psalms 55: 16-18: As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.

Psalms 77:2: When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.

Psalms 42:8" By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalms 92:1-3: It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

Psalm 59:16: But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 119: 54-56: Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.

Psalms 119:61-63: Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.

Psalm 5:3: In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Daniel 6:10-11: Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

New Testament (by early believers & apostles)

Acts 3:1: One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.

Acts 10:1-3: At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Acts 10:9: About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.

Acts 10:30: Cornelius answered: "Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me.

Also various parts where Jesus went for prayer.

Edit:

I saw how Luther modified his daily Office to suit the Laity.

Now I also saw in John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion his opinion for a daily prayer rule.

50. But although it has been said above (sec. 7, 27, &c.), that we ought always to raise our minds upwards towards God, and pray without ceasing, yet such is our weakness, which requires to be supported, such our torpor, which requires to be stimulated, that it is requisite for us to appoint special hours for this exercise, hours which are not to pass away without prayer, and during which the whole affections of our minds are to be completely occupied; namely, when we rise in the morning, before we commence our daily work, when we sit down to food, when by the blessing of God we have taken it, and when we retire to rest.

29. This assiduity in prayer, though it specially refers to the peculiar private prayers of individuals, extends also in some measure to the public prayers of the Church. These, it may be said, cannot be continual, and ought not to be made, except in the manner which, for the sake of order, has been established by public consent. This I admit, and hence certain hours are fixed beforehand, hours which, though indifferent in regard to God, are necessary for the use of man, that the general convenience may be consulted, and all things be done in the Church, as Paul enjoins, “decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40).

31 Here, if any error is committed through imprudence or forgetfulness, no crime is perpetrated; but if this is done from contempt, such contumacy must be disapproved. In like manner, it is of no consequence what the days and hours are, what the nature of the edifices, and what psalms are sung on each day. But it is proper that there should be certain days and stated hours, and a place fit for receiving all, if any regard is had to the preservation of peace. For what a seed-bed of quarrels will confusion in such matters be, if every one is allowed at pleasure to alter what pertains to common order?

An article on this from a mennonite perpective.

1
  • 1
    Welcome to C.SE! Excellent first question. – GratefulDisciple Dec 16 '20 at 1:08
6

As a lifelong Protestant, born into a Protestant family, then converted, personally, at the age of sixteen and a Protestant ever since, it is evident to me - if to no other - that the very nature of 'Protestantism' is a protest against, among other things, ritualistic and formal religion imposed on the individual without a decree or ordinance attached which is purely of a scriptural nature.

With regard, specifically, to prayer, Jesus never once demands prayer at specific times of day; or for specific durations ; or at any time of the week, or month or year.

Nor do any of his apostles so demand.

When the disciples ask Jesus : Lord, teach us to pray, that would have been the precise opportunity. But Jesus does not take it and says only thus :

When ye pray ... [Luke 11:2 KJV]

leaving it entirely up to the individual how they wish to organise their own private devotions. He also tells them to go into their closet, privately (Matthew 6:6) and to shut the door and to pray in secret to the Father, again making it a private matter and nobody else's business when or how or at what seasons one prays.

Also, as a Protestant, I am not required to quote 'church fathers' or 'leaders' or 'hierarchy'. I am permitted, as a lifelong Protestant, to read my own bible and to follow the words of Jesus and of his own chosen apostles.

All I am required to do, is to consent to the words of the apostles and to abide by them.

I may follow the examples of the psalmists and apostles and brethren (note well, the 'examples' - not the decrees - as is clear in the OP) but I shall not be advertising, commenting or boasting about the fact that I do so.

I shall do it quietly, in private - and before my Lord and my God.


However, if any Protestant desires advice on the matter, I would suggest the excellent homily of Martin Luther's addressed to 'Master Peter the Barber' in which Luther says (among many other things, for I recommend the entire article) :

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, "Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that." Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.

A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther (written in 1535)

3
  • 1
    I still feel like, a daily prayer structure is one of many ways to strengthen the spiritual life of believers & providing them with a non compulsory daily prayer rule is not seen outside the lutheran, anglican, methodist circles. – Akash Davis Dec 17 '20 at 4:54
  • Thanks for the answer though. Gained a new perspective. – Akash Davis Dec 17 '20 at 5:24
  • 1
    @AkashDavis I agree with your sentiment but I would say, myself, that within the household and the private family are where such orderliness lies. Again, it is by example, not by demand. Spirituality is a matter of faith. And none has dominion over faith, save the Lord himself, 2 Corinthians 1:24. – Nigel J Dec 17 '20 at 9:30
3

I don't think this is a question about protestantism in general - your mention of Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists would say that. I, as an Anglican, would count myself very much as a protestant!

The issue you mention is I think more to do with many protestant churches seeing themselves as independent or noncomformist. I myself was raised in an independent evangelical church (baptist, and then FIEC).

In those churches there is much stronger suspicion of "institutional" religion, as Nigel J outlined in his answer. In these churches, the authority of the church as an institution is downplayed in favour of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. This means that the church (as institution) does not exist to guide our own personal prayer life and devotion to the Lord.

Personally I think there is a lot of merit to this approach. Although I am an Anglican, and I do love liturgy, I don't use the Church of England's "Prayer during the day" in my own private devotions. I believe liturgy is only helpful inasmuch as it helps us to focus on the Bible and on Jesus.

A brief word on the question of Biblical interpretation.

The apostle Paul said:

pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:18)

We should pray all the time. Whether that be with set prayers or devotions or not, prayer should be like breathing to Christians.

I believe the Scripture passages talking about prayer are simply outlining how Bible characters have prayed at all times - there is no particular time or form of words prescribed, as Nigel J says.

2
  • Presbyterian and other Reformed Churches are not independent or non-conformist but don't have such strict liturgies. The Directory For Public Worship for example explains how various liturgies can be prepared, but without dictating specifics. So you can't draw a clear line between confessional or institutional churches and predefined prayer systems. – curiousdannii Dec 15 '20 at 12:32
  • @curiousdannii Fair point. I guess there will be different perspectives on this. In a UK context, a lot of free church folks' understanding of church is being "not Anglican". Because liturgy is Anglican, a lot of them reject it! But I'm sure there are other perspectives especially globally. – Phill Sacre Dec 15 '20 at 13:45
0

It's a good question. Actually you mention Lutherans, Anglicans and some Methodists, which ARE Protestant denominations that do have daily Prayer/ Liturgy, so it makes me wonder why you didn't include them.

Another Protestant denomination that has daily prayer is Episcopalian.
I hope this helps explanation will help. The answer really is about the overall church governing structure. Besides the Catholic church, these other denominations are considered hierarchical, meaning that they have a supervising Synod, or governing body that determines many things from the worship style, to use of candles, responsive readings in the service as well as specific materials or curriculum for Sunday School. These are also often referred to as High Church, and this is due to the higher formality, and the clear distinction between the clergy and common people. This is by design- and we can see it in the use of the robes used by the pastor, or priest, as well as the collar.
One of the many things that are part of the history of the Protestant Reformation is that they were protesting against this over-arching structure, and rituals, which are often elevated to the point of worship/idolatry like praying the rosary.

  • One of the biggest reasons most Protestant Churches don't have written prayers is that Christ spoke against vain repetition of the religious leaders.
  • Another reason is that Christ gave us the Model Prayer, which is a template for how to pray, and has important elements, Adoration, confession, supplication, but it's a relationship. You don't recite written words when you talk to your spouse, and God wants us to speak from our heart.
    There are literally thousands of daily devotionals and prayer books, - but Protestants value autonomy, and there is a real danger is repeating prayers of Church Fathers, many who spread their own heresies in their writings, and this is included in these prayers. Calvin taught that infant baptism saved and it was the equivalent of circumcision.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.