by John MacArthur
“Men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1, KJV).
Prayer should never be limited to certain times, places, or circumstances.
As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.
In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.
I have since learned that praying with my eyes closed is a helpful way to avoid distractions, but it isn’t mandated in Scripture—nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. For example, some people want to limit prayer to a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.
Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyful.
Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.
The point is clear: there is no specific correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn’t limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, at any time of the day or night.