By Michael H. Brown
PHENOMENON OF WAKING UP AT THREE A.M. ALSO EXPERIENCED BY PROTESTANT, WITH EXPLANATION
For quite some time, for about ten years, we have on occasion brought up the subject of waking up at three a.m. — that is, how many Catholics out there say they are stirred from sleep at exactly that time, feeling the need to pray; sensing the Presence of God (or angels, or deceased loved ones, or saints), or finding themselves in the midst of spiritual warfare (or all the above). It’s so common that when the question of how many experience this has been asked at our retreats, up to half of those present have raised their hands, or nearly half. Various explanations for the apparent phenomenon have been posited: that three a.m. is a time when the veil is especially thin; that it is the hour of conclusion for occult rituals; that it is the night-time version of the Mercy Hour.
Countless are those who have described waking up sensing a spiritual presence — good or evil — and feeling the need to pray, which seems the only way to get back to sleep. Perhaps it is heightening as spiritual warfare seems to be heightening (especially in the past few months).
It turns out that Protestants report the same phenomenon, or at least a prominent one, author Perry Stone of Cleveland, Tennessee, who writes:
“During many years of ministry I observed that it was common for me to awake at exactly three o’clock in the morning. During my evangelistic travels, on a consistent basis I would awaken and look at the digital clock on the dresser to see the time — exactly 3:00. Not 2:59 or 3:01, but exactly 3:00 a.m. I would share this information with other believers and discovered that they too were having the same experience. At times I would minister on early-morning intercession and was amazed when I would ask a large congregation of believers, ‘How many of you often wake up at three o’clock in the morning?’ At times, up to ninety percent of the congregation would raise their hands, affirming the same experience I had for many years.”
So what’s his theory?
“I began to research the Scriptures to see if there was a biblical precedent,” he writes (in his new book, Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree) — finding that Romans divided the time of day into four “watches”:
From six in the evening to nine at night as the “first watch,” from nine to midnight was the “second watch,” from midnight to three was the third, and from three in the morning to six a.m. was the fourth.
In Scripture, Christ said His Second Coming could be during any of these watches (and thus to remain alert). (“Blessed are those servants whom the Master, when He comes, will find watching… And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants,” says Luke 12:37-40).
Might it be during the third?
Meantime, it was during the fourth watch — which starts at three a.m. — that Jesus walked on water to His disciples!
One rabbi told Stone “of a strong Jewish tradition stating that several hours before the sun rises, God restrains the presence of evil and visits the earth with His Divine Presence. The timeframe begins about three in the morning and continues until just before sunrise.”
Indeed, is it not three when the bars closed, when the evil of what is done in the dark — robberies, murders, prostitution — have often concluded; when cleansing comes (when angels battle the demons)?
Whatever the case, that veil indeed seems thinnest at this “witching” (let us turn it into a “holy”) hour.
“I also recalled what I had heard from numerous nurses,” says Stone.
“It is a known fact that three in the morning is a pivotal time for anyone who is sick or in a critical condition. One of my ministry partners from Virginia, Ellen Kanode, directs several hospitals in Virginia. She has confirmed to me that three in the morning is often the timeframe when a person will begin to experience a recovery or face death. It has remained a mystery as to why, but even fevers tend to break after three in the morning.”
On December 31, 1978, recalls this evangelist, he went to sleep and was abruptly awakened by a hand almost violently shaking his leg. At first he thought it was a prank — a member of his family. “As I sat up, he recalls, “I could see the nightlight and the digital clock, which read 3:00 a.m.
“Then something happened that is difficult to explain,” he continues in his bestselling general Christian book. “Within three feet from my face I saw the face of a handsome man. His features were perfect, and his eyes were full of compassion. I thought an angel of the Lord had entered the room.
“Suddenly the face became contorted, twisted with an evil stare followed by demonic laughter. This angel of light was no angel of God! It was the visible face of a fierce evil spirit that was literally laughing at me.”
Stone prayed and found himself rising up against this force with a command from deep in his own spirit to dispel it.
And at that instant he heard a voice, Stone writes. “The Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit, saying, ‘Son, as long as you live, Satan will use what you see and what you hear against you. It is time that you stand on the only thing that can never be shaken or changed; stand upon My Word!’
“Instantly the shaking ceased, and the image of this face of wickedness evaporated into thin air. A surge of peace and fresh anointing filled my spirit. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted. The atmosphere cleared, and peace flooded the room. That was on January 1, 1979, and according to my clock, it was exactly three o’clock in the morning!”
[If you experience it, let us know your account (and explanation)]