Ignite the Night


Significance of the 4th Watch
 
      Are you frequently being wakened between 3-6 am?  It may be God calling.
 
There is strategic significance in praying during the early morning hours. Prayer/worship during these hours are highly effectual in harnessing God's transforming power. The fourth watch is defined by the Roman watch as a time spanning from 3am-6am. Biblically, strategic events take place particularly during the night and early morning hours/watches.
  • Jacob wrestled with God and met Him face to face just before entering into his destiny as Israel. Gen 32:22-31  
  • Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea Ex 14:25-26
  • Gideon defeated the Midianites (middle watch), Judges 7:19-24
  • Peter and Jesus walk on water, Mt 14:25-26
  • The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the savior.  Luke 2:8-14
  • Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Mt 28:1
  • The bridegroom woes His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Mt 25:1-13
The Hebrew watch was divided into three watches, the first, middle and morning watch. As the Roman influence and supremacy was established, the number of watches increased to four and were described in numerical order 1st (6pm-9pm); 2nd (9pm-12MN); 3rd (12MN-3am); 4th (3am-6am).   
During the 4th watch there are significant power encounters that make way for the Kingdom of God to penetrate the earth. Such prayers are highly protective and effectual particularly when linked with other watchmen. Jesus warns of the importance of apprehending the purposes of God in prayer/worship during these hours in Luke 12:35-40:
 
"Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
 
Thus, much advance for His Kingdom can be made even with a few people in agreement during this strategic time. Corporate and cooperative prayer during the fourth watch is therefore extremely potent in harnessing God's transforming power for our lives, cities, states, and nations.

     Furthermore, Jesus' parable of the sower and the seed represents a reflection of the night hours and their impact on Kingdom dynamics. After all, it was Jesus who said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way," Matthew 13:24-25. If we desire to see His Kingdom advance, perhaps "fasting" sleep will not only be powerful, but help break spiritual slumber off the church so that advance can occur in the day.

      At first glance, many have said, "I can't do that," "3am-6am...that's ridiculous," or "I'm not called to it."  However, once aware, find themselves being awakened or provoked during these hours. As they stop the natural instinct to turn over and focus on sleep and instead respond to the call, seek Him, something extraordinary starts to happen.  They find their spiritual muscle being exercised and time well rewarded with Him.  Desire to meet with Him grows and the hours fly by with extraordinary speed.  Scriptures promise that if we seek Him, we will find Him, Proverbs 8:17.  Fasting a bit of slumber, allows God's transforming power to work an "awakening" within us.  As we respond, the task becomes easier, the insights brighter, the revelation stronger, the Word more empowering.  The world is in great need of "spiritual muscle" to grow, exercise and stand the watches.  In the night hours, as we respond to the call, the light and power of His Presence penetrates us, and we emerge stronger, more focused than before.  Jesus repeatedly commands us to "Watch."  (frequently associated with the exhortation, "for we know not the hour,"  ex. Mt 24:32, 25:13, Mark 13:9,33-35, Luke 12:38).  "Watch" is mentioned 24 times in the new Testament...all with focus on being alert.  

      God is looking for Samuel's today who will respond to Him when the 3am wake-up call comes by saying, "What is it Lord, here am I for you called me," 1 Samuel 3:5.  This is not just an idea but a real provoking of the Holy Spirit upon God's people to ignite spiritual awakening, breakthrough and Kingdom advance in days of increasing darkness and conflict.  Jesus is coming for an alert and ready bride.  Fasting a portion of slumber once a week or on a regular basis, is a strategy to awaken the bride to prepare the way.  Though He comes when all are sleeping, Matthew 25:5, the virgins with oil in their lamps understood, rose and followed the bridegroom.  Those without oil were too late.  Let us be like the wise virgins, ready and waiting with oil in our lamps for the bridegroom when He comes.  He is coming for an alert, ready and prepared bride.  The night watch is key in preparing this alertness in the heart of His bride, the church.  Even so Lord, come quickly.  
 
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