Ooh, last week’s lesson #13, from Come, Follow Me, about Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes and walking on water had so many golden nuggets of truth!
I will write about one of those golden nuggets here. In Matthew 14:25, it says that Jesus come in the fourth watch. What is the fourth watch? It is the period of time between 3 and 6 AM. For the past few years I occasionally wake up during this time. I used to plan on sleeping more when this happened. Usually I could turn over and fall back to sleep. A few times however I would lie there awake, not able to sleep any more. Then I attended a Veggie Gals gathering and one of my Veggie Gal friends suggested that when that happens, God is gently nudging you because He wants to speak to you. So It’s important to get up and pray and let God know that you are there seeking Him and ready to listen, just as Samuel said, “Speak God, for thy servant listeneth.” She said to take a notebook and write down the answers you get. She said you can go back to bed if you want, and usually, you can more easily, because God’s purpose for waking you has been fulfilled.
I have been experimenting with this and have received some answers that I normally wouldn’t. It’s wonderful!
When President Nelson and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson came to Arizona recently and spoke to the Saints, she shared that he has been getting revelation many times during the night. He records the revelation on a yellow pad. Perhaps these times have been during the fourth watch. I don’t know, but it’s entirely possible. Here is an article about that.
Brother S. Michael Wilcox gave an Education Week talk about the fourth watch, shown above. It is especially important for those of us who feel that our prayers go unanswered. Or if you feel stuck in a rut. Getting up before daylight and praying during the dark of early morning, during the fourth watch, somehow makes it easier to hear the voice of God. Maybe because it’s so dark and still, it’s easier to sense the light of revelation because of the contrast with physical darkness. I don’t know, but I have experienced it and enjoy the results.
Jesus set the example for us to pray during the dark by getting up before day and praying. See Mark 1:35. I blogged about that here. I know that it can be hard to do this consistently, as a mom, because of varying schedules of family members and the crucial importance of sleep. So I am not saying that if you don’t wake up every day to pray before 6 AM you are sinning. That being said if you feel stuck or that your prayers are not being answered, experiment and see if praying during the fourth watch helps. Your version of praying a “great while before day” and “the fourth watch” will look different for you depending on your family’s schedule. The point is to pray alone before the busy-ness of the day settles in. There’s something about getting up, sacrificing sleep, and deliberately seeking God in prayer when everything around you is hushed and quiet that gives a sign to God that you truly want to hear him and obey.
The video below touches on the Fourth Watch principle and does a nice summary of the whole scripture reading for Come, Follow Me Week #13. You can read about how we use the Come, Follow Me Study Guide here.