I'm not a morning person. I'm really not. Waking up for me most days is something like coming out of anesthesia after surgery. This has sometimes made me feel like a slacker when I hear others talking about how they are up at 4:00 am every day for prayer, Bible reading and a brisk walk, while I am drooling into my pillow.
I have tried doing my personal prayer time first thing in the morning as soon as my feet hit the floor, but the main feature of the exercise turned out to be simply the fight to keep my eyelids from dropping. It was a constant, very physical struggle against sleep. So, eventually I quit worrying about praying like other people and started to look for ways I could pray when I was actually fully conscious.
One way that I have done this is to pray in the car. Normally, I spend a couple of hours a day driving, and instead of listening to a CD or the radio (the stone-age kind... just AM and FM, so choices are limited), I'll sometimes pray, usually the Rosary. Of course, traffic doesn't always cooperate, and I am often interrupted. I don't know if it's Christmas shopping traffic or what, but the freeway has been more of a white-knuckle experience, lately. It's also kind of spiritually deflating to hear yourself say "...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in - WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!! MERGE!! I'M TRYING TO LET YOU IN!!!!" (this really happened). Talk about heading back to the old spiritual drawing board...
Lately I have been doing my private prayer mostly at night, when everyone else has gone to bed. I still make some brief prayers through the day, including a morning offering, but for more considered meditation, I'm finding the late evening works well for me. As a family man, it also has a very fitting Watchman on the Walls sort of feel to it. This schedule means that instead of catching a late night classic movie - by myself - (which I love), I have to turn off the Idiot Box. I'm thinking this can't help but make me more human while also increasing IQ points. A double whammy of sanity.
The point, of course, is that there is no BEST time to pray. What works for some may not work for you. The goal should always be to move closer and closer to praying continually, and through this to move closer and closer to Christ.
What works for you?