The Talmud in Masechet Brachot discusses the origin of prayers. It gives two reasons for our daily prayers. One reason is that prayer takes the place of sacrifices. And the other reason is that they were decreed by the Patriarchs.
Avraham Avinu decreed the morning prayer of Shacharit. We learn this when the Torah mentions that he arose early in the morning.
Yakov Avinu decreed the evening prayer of Arvit. This is learned when it says that he expired in that place. This was a hint to our evening.
In Parshat Chayei Sara, we learn about Mincha from Yitzchak, who went out to meditate in the field towards evening. This meditation refers to prayer.
It is interesting to note that the Talmud makes a special mention of Mincha. “One should always be extra careful with the Mincha service, for Eliyahu Hanavi was only answered during the afternoon hours of Mincha.”
It is referring to the incredible showdown between the false prophets of Baal, and Eliyahu Hanavi. It was a very bold move on Eliyahu’s part, as he felt that the future of the Jewish people, was in danger. A fire came from the Heavens and consumed his sacrifice, and his prayers were answered, and it began to rain.
The Rabbis are suggesting that we do not overlook the brief afternoon service, known as Mincha. It has great importance and significance. It could be that we may find an even greater chance of having our prayers answered in the afternoon, than during other hours of the day.
Yitzchak’s prayers were answered, and he was blessed with a wife that was capable of replacing his saintly wife. We should keep in mind the auspiciousness of Mincha, to reach out to Hashem. He is definitely listening.