See why some Christians believe the late night or pre-dawn hours are a one-of-a-kind time to connect with God. 

by Diana AydinFrom

Posted in God"s Grace, might 24, 2017


My alarm went off at 3 a.m. I sat top top the leaf of mine bed and waited for my eye to readjust to the dark, climate crept out of my bedroom. On a mis­sion. To encounter the magnificent in the deep of the night.

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I’m no a fan of the dark. Together a kid, I seldom slept without a night-light. That’s one reason I love life in new York City—there’s always a light on somewhere. The darkness holds unknown terrors, nightmares, end­less tossing and also turning. I never thought of the nighttime as sacred. Till I came throughout something on­line. All around how some believe God works most proactively under the sheathe of darkness, specifically between the hours of 3 a.m. To 6 a.m.—“the fourth watch of the night,” so called be­cause the old Romans split the night into 4 watches that the army guard.

The term shows up in one Biblical story referenced in both the Gospels the Matthew and Mark: “Now in the fourth watch the the night, Jesus visited them, go on the sea.... Jesus speak to them, saying, ‘Be of great cheer! that is I—do not be afraid.’”

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However, the predawn hours show up just about everywhere rather in Scripture. Jacob wrestled v an angel till the break of day. Peter was fast asleep, in chains, once he to be miraculously freed from prison. Samuel heard his name referred to as not once, however four times, in the middle of the night. Many of the Bible’s heroes seemed to it is in partial to the dark. Walk they recognize something ours modern, light-filled culture doesn’t? might it be the the dead the night is not something to be feared but rather embraced?

I referred to as Clark Strand, writer of Waking approximately the Dark: ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age. Strand is a former Zen buddhist monk who frequently writes around the world spiritual traditions. The nighttime, he says, is essential to just about every major religion.

“The great visionary experiences in religion have occurred in the night,” Strand says. “Jesus would climb be­fore sunrise. David hung a special harp end his bed to wake up him in the center of the night to create the Psalms. The Buddha witnessed the morn­ing star and became enlightened. The perform goes on.”

The dawn of man-made light adjusted mankind’s connection with the night, Strand says. Days acquired longer. Our sleep patterns adjusted too. Before the industrial Revolution, it’s believed that humans slept for 4 hours, wake up up for two, and also then slept for one more four hours.


This concept is sustained by re­search carried out by psychiatrist thomas Wehr. In one sleep study, Wehr exposed volunteers to a civilization without artificial light, i.e., 14 hrs of darkness every day. After ~ a month, examine participants started to sleep in about two four-hour stretches v a duration of wakefulness in between. Those more, during that time the wakefulness, entrants had greater levels of the hormone prolactin, i beg your pardon is linked with higher tranquility.

“Wehr’s topics reported feeling more alert, happy, confident and also at peace during those two hrs in the middle of the night,” Strand says. “His topics were no awake no one asleep. They seemed to accounting a state that mind every its own. A state the mind the experiences ordinary reality in a very different way.”

That in-between state is what Strand call the “Hour of God,” a time assumed to have been one of an excellent creativity and also mysticism in the pre-Industrial age. Strand has been willingly waking up in the middle of the night due to the fact that he was a child and has experienced great moments that sacredness and also inspiration in the dark. He’s not alone. Strand points come the nineteenth-century meditative practice of hitbodedut, originated through Rebbe Nachman that Breslov, founder the the Breslov Hasidic movement, who motivated his pendant to talk aloud come God for an hour in the center of the night in a field or secluded place.

Then there are the good monastic heritages of maintaining vigil and praying with the night. Brother Aidan Owen, a Benedictine monk and also vo­cations minister at holy Cross Mon­astery, in West Park, new York, routinely rises roughly 4 a.m. To spend time alone through God in the silence. He’s occasionally been awakened from sleep after vivid dreams and also has heard God speak in the center of the night.

“The Celts talk around thin locations in the world—physical places where the boundary between heaven and earth is an extremely thin,” brothers Owen says. “I think that the beforehand morning and late night as thin time of day.”

What is it around the middle of the night it is “thin”? It might be that we’re simply much more receptive in ~ night, brothers Owen says. Much less bombarded by the worries and endless to-do list of the day. Much more vulnerable and maybe much more ourselves in the method God important sees us. “The human being has quieted down, that dark, and there space fewer distractions,” states Brother Owen. “We are, in a sense, defense­less. Us haven’t placed on the persona that us are during the day. We’re much more likely come hear God call.”

Clark Strand notes the our night­time senses room on high alarm too. “By daylight, every little thing is clearly defined and also the visual part of our mind is acti­vated,” that says. “But in the darkness, a different part of the psyche comes to the floor. Your senses that touch, smell and also hearing are much an ext acute. Yes sir something very close and intimate around the dark. Yes a be safe of common rules that govern ours reality.”

Baptist minister David R. Smith, who has actually led early-morning and also 24-hour prayer services at his church in In­verness, Florida, agrees the the odd hours of the day deserve to be a an excellent time to conference God. “God hears united state perfectly in ~ all hours of the day. But we can not so conveniently dismiss him at 3 o’clock in the morning,” blacksmith says. “He’s okay through calling you the end of a comfortable sleep. He no oper­ate on our time.”

That’s no to to speak you actually need to be awake for the night to it is in fruitful. Reverend Masud Ibn Syedullah, one Episcopalian monk in Hyde Park, brand-new York, stress the requirement of remainder in the spirituality life. Dreams can additionally be God’s method of speak to us. “What am ns doing in between 3 a.m. And 6 a.m.?” Syedullah says. “I’m sleeping. Yet God is functioning on me even in my unconscious state.”

If the darkness is so illuminating, then why do numerous of us are afraid it? follow to Syedullah, the terrors of the night are very closely tied come the fear of the day. “We regularly have our masks on during the day,” that says. “It’s at night, as soon as no on rather is around and we’re out of the general public sphere, that our fears and troubles surface.”

Of course, the possibility of acquiring up nearby and an individual with the divine in the middle of the night deserve to be for­bidding. “We all have actually psychological defenses we placed in place to maintain our sense of being in charge,” brother Owen says. “So it’s frightening come let those defenses down and also con­sciously move into a connection where God is in charge.”

Perhaps it is one reason Jesus said his practical worker “do no be afraid” throughout his visitation in the 4th watch that the night. In fact, a vital line in that story may shed light on the significance of the dark, smith says.

“In Mark’s telling of the story, Je­sus to be going come pass castle by,” claims Smith. “That doesn’t median Jesus was going to walk roughly the boat and avoid them. The ideal under­standing the the Greek word way he was going to reveal himself. Jesus was revealing self to lock in the center of the night.”

Could the be the Jesus to be reas­suring his followers no to fear this time the revelation? After speak to the experts, I had actually to discover out because that myself. I challenged myself to wake up up in the center of the night for a totality week, even if just for a couple of minutes to pray.

After the first night, ns wasn’t certain who to be waking me up—my alert clock or God. Then I started to crave our time together. ~ above the critical night of my experiment, ns woke up at 3 a.m. To speak aloud to God and, motivated by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, left the lull of my bed­room to sit in mine kitchen, staring out the window at the cityscape. Then i spoke right into the darkness.

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I’m not certain where the tears come from, yet I couldn’t prevent them. The words too bubbled increase from areas unknown. Ns didn’t see a vision; ns didn’t hear a voice. One hour happen in no time. Afterward, i felt strange serene. There to be no doubt in my mind. I’d proficient the Hour of God myself. I tiptoed back to my room and fell rapid asleep, one of the deep­est sleeps I’ve ever known.