PRAYING IN THE FOURTH WATCH
Mark 6:48 KJV: And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
Here we see the Lord Jesus walking on the sea in the fourth watch of the night: this fact has hidden in it a symbolic, spiritual instruction for us today.
The Jews divided the night into four ‘watches’: 6.00pm – 9.00pm; 9.00pm -12.00midnight; 12.00midnight – 3.00am and 3.00am – 6.00am.
The fourth watch is between 3.00hrs – 6.00hrs (or 3am – 6am) .
The Lord Jesus walking on the sea symbolizes His (and ours, since we are joint-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:17)) dominion over the ‘waters’ of the sea.
‘Waters’ here are symbolic of the spiritual power of death coming out of the mouths of billions of men being harnessed by Satan to dominate the lives of men by sin, sickness, ignorance, poverty and death (Jn. 10:10).
Revelation 17:15 KJV: And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Proverbs 18:21 KJV: Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Revelation 12:15 KJV: and the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
Why is praying in the fourth watch so strategic?
It is strategic because at this time the great majority of men in your geographical region are sleeping and so are not talking. Consequently, the amount of spiritual power available to Satan through them at this time is minimal. Therefore, the spiritual power released when you pray at this time will do maximum damage to the strongholds of Satan.
Also, this time is strategic for efficient spiritual time management. When you pray effectually and fervently during the fourth watch, you release a sufficient measure of the power of God into your soul, body and circumstances guaranteeing you dominion in everything you do during the course of the rest of that day. So you can use the majority of the time during the day to do necessary mental and physical work, and do them excellently by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit released when you prayed during the fourth watch.
The Lord Jesus Himself prayed during the fourth watch as a daily habit:
Mark 1:35 KJV: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Hebrews 5:7 KJV: Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
To make this a daily habit will require discipline and enduring hardness:
2Timothy 2:3 KJV: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
It is instructive to remember that ambitious students and business men do this: study and work in the early morning hours regularly, to achieve success in their exams and ventures respectively. How much more should we do this to attain spiritual excellence and so grow into the perfection and fulness of Christ with all its attendant rewards!
1Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (25) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1Corinthians 9:27 AMP: But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].
The good news in all this is as we learn to tap more into the mercy and grace of God through humility, dominating sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will find this yoke and burden of praying in the fourth watch easy and light!
Matthew 11:28-30 KJV: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.