Hughes Oliphant Old points out that the worship of the Temple was daily worship. Every morning and evening there were sacrifices in the temple and “these daily temple sacrifices were called the tamid, the continual sacrifice.” One of the places Old is referring to is Exodus 29 where Yahweh commands Moses regarding the sacrifices that are to be offered at the Tabernacle. The priests are to offer two lambs, “day by day continually” (Ex. 29:38). One lamb was to be offered in the morning and the other was to be offered in the evening, and He explains that this morning and evening sacrifice is to be “a continual ascension offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the face of Yahweh” (Ex. 29:42). This morning and evening pattern is perpetuity; this rhythm is continual worship, day by day, following the pattern of creation, morning and evening, morning and evening.
Old also points out that the daily sacrifices “were accompanied by prayers and particularly the singing of psalms.” Perhaps this originates in practice following the golden calf incident where Moses moves the tent of meeting outside the camp, and from that time on when the glory of God’s presence descended upon the tent, the people would all worship from afar, falling down on their faces in the doorways of their tents (Ex. 33:7-11). But Old says that the “Christian discipline of daily prayer is ultimately derived from these continual sacrifices.” Old cites Daniel who would maintain the Temple sacrifices even in exile, “There three times a day, at the regular hours of the Temple sacrifices, Daniel went to his room, opened his window toward Jerusalem, and said his prayers…” Related to this was the command in Deuteronomy to recite the Shema “when you lie down, and when you rise up…,” every morning and every evening. Thus the faithful meditate on the law of God “day and night” (Ps. 1:2).
Old says that surely this is what the Apostle has in mind when he exhorts Christians to pray “continually” (Rom. 12:12), “without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), offering “supplications and prayers night and day” (1 Tim. 5:5). And it’s therefore no wonder that from the earliest centuries of the Church, Christians were known for these daily sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving and prayer. While Old recognizes the great work of monastics in preserving and glorifying the daily prayer services throughout the middle ages, he also notes that by the time of the Reformation it was necessary to restore prayers to the laity. Thus, in Geneva, Strassburg, and Augsburg, and apparently throughout the continent, morning and evening common prayers were restored to the people, often including sermons from the Reformers. In England and Scotland, the practice of daily prayers was emphasized in particular connection to the family which is probably related to the growing interest in covenant theology as well as the complex religious and political circumstances facing reformers at various points. Fathers were charged with the sacred duty of diligently instructing their families and leading them in the morning and evening prayers. Pastors would make regular visits to parish families to inquire about daily prayer habits and encourage fathers and mothers to grow in this practice. With the coming of Pietism, this practice degenerated into an individualistic “quiet time” which became the standard of Evangelical piety.
As we recover this pattern of continual prayer, it will surely take on slightly different forms in various places depending on many factors, but it is a gift of our heritage to be recovered nonetheless.
(References from Worship Reformed According to Scripture by Hughes Oliphant Old, 147-151).