How often do Hindus pray everyday?
In the religious texts and the code of recommended activities, praying at dusk has been accorded special significance. Therefore, sages and saints have been offering prayers thrice daily - at sunrise, midday and dusk, just as the sun dips below the horizon. Lord Ram and his guru Vashistha are also known to have offered prayers thrice daily. To develop personal magnetism, be progressive and successful and find personal fulfillment, prayers thrice a day are recommended.
In Manusmriti, 4/94, Manu has said:
It is only because of continuous offering of prayers at dusk for a long time that the saints and sages were blessed with intelligence, fame, goodwill, long life and divinity.
In the Kurmpuran, 18126-31, the importance of offering prayers at dusk is explained. Dusk gives birth to a new period and leaves behind attachments and activities of another day. Born of three elements, it prepares one in advance for God's benevolence. Facing the east, with devotion and concentration a learned person must chant an eminent mantra like the Gayatri mantra during evening prayer. In the past, learned people have offered prayers at dusk and achieved salvation through single-minded devotion.
The three prayers - in the morning prior to sunrise, in the afternoon and at dusk - have been described as excellent, mediocre and ordinary.
In the Devibhagwat, 11/16/4-5, it is said that the morning prayer is excellent if offered when stars are visible, mediocre when stars are not visible, and ordinary when the sun has risen. The evening prayer is considered excellent when the sun can be seen, mediocre when the sun is setting and ordinary when the stars are visible.
According to Sage Vishwamitra, when offering prayers one must face the east or the north. In the evening one must face the west.
The best time to offer prayers in the morning is just before sunrise, in the day at noon and in the evening just before the sunset, extended until 10 minutes after it. Prayers, mantras, meditation and kirtan are virtuous and beneficial when offered at the appropriate time. The principal nerves of the body are particularly receptive and latent powers energized. Prayer thrice a day has a profound effect upon the physical, emotional and spiritual life of individuals.