The Fourth Watch
Today’s Scripture: “And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.” Matthew 14:25
God never sleeps and never gets tired. He is Spirit. Therefore, a physical body that grows weary does not limit Him. He is always awake, alert, and attentive to His children. He never slumbers, but watches over His children as they rest and sleep (Psalm 121). Since God never sleeps, He frequently comes to His children in the early morning hours to awaken them for prayer and fellowship in His Word. In our text, Jesus saw that His disciples were struggling at sea as they attempted to row to shore. He came to them in their distress, walking on the water in “the fourth watch,” sometime between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. He made their struggles cease, and gave them perfect peace.
Jesus will come to us during “the fourth watch” as well. Through the years, the Lord has often awakened me in the early hours before dawn with a desire to pray. There is something special about those early hours with God. While on earth, Jesus often prayed during that same time period (Mark 1:35). King David offered his prayers to God early “in the morning” (Psalm 5:3). It is said of the great Methodist preacher, John Wesley, that he spent several hours in prayer and Bible study every morning before daybreak. Indeed, the sun should always rise on some Christian kneeling in prayer.
I often talk with Christians who complain about their hectic schedules. They simply do not have time to pray. I tell them about “the fourth watch.” The house is quiet, the family is asleep, and privacy is at a premium. Those early hours are for communion with God, not physical exercise. Go to bed early, and then rise early to meet with the Lord Jesus. He still comes to His struggling disciples in the early hours of “the fourth watch.”