Praying three times a day

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, April 13, 2013

Like anything worthwhile, prayer takes practice to get the hang of it. Once a week isn’t enough (though I know that some people find it more than enough). Traditionally, Jewish men pray three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening.

The core of the daily services seems to have been formulated during the Second Temple period, 2,500 years ago. There is an interesting argument in the Talmud about its origins; one opinion is that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each created one of the three services, while the other holds that the services correspond to daily sacrifices in the Temple (Berachot 26b). The Zohar further explains that each of the services reflects a particular spiritual quality in which the forefather who wrote it excelled. 

While women are exempt from praying at fixed times, most authorities say they should try to pray at least once a day. The thrice-daily prayer practice can form a rhythm and familiarity that creates a space for true prayer to happen.  

Last updated: 2:45pm, April 13 2013