The Eight Prayer Watches: Which One is Yours?
Lula Barringer Smith
In James 5:16, we are told that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much. As we
pray, we stand watch over our families, cities, and nations. Just as men stood on city wallis in the Bible
to watch for approaching danger, God calls us to be modern-day watchmen and warn those who are
endangered (2 Kings 9:17-18).
We are to watch not only for the enemy's activity but also for the manifestation of God's plans. If we
watch for the enemy and announce his activity, we can avert the devil's plans to steal, kill and destroy
what God has for us. Jesus said in Matthew 24:43, "But know this, if the good man of the house had
known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his
house to be broken up."
Today more than ever, it is important that we pray and seek the mind of the Lord, "Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," (Matthew 6:10). Major decisions we are confronted with
require us to know God's individual will for our lives. With the Holy Spirit's leading, we can discover
God's will and expose the plans of the enemy through strategic prayer.
The Bible speaks of "watches," which are specific times of the day or night. There are basically eight
watches covering 24 hours. This is because everyone has a prayer watch, even though they may not
know it. This is why you may find yourself repeatedly praying at specific times of the day or evening. If
you ever been awakened during the night or are wondering why you are being led to pray at specific
times, it is probably because God wants you to pray or interecede for someone. Every prayer watch has
First Watch (The Evening Watch from 6:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.)
A Time of Quiet Reflection
Jesus used the evening watch to go aside and pray (Matthew 14:15-23). After the business of the day is
a time to release anxieties to the Lord before going to sleep. This is a time to meditate on God's Word.
Meditation quiets our emotions, realigns our mind, and frees our will to do the will of God. What we could
not hear clearly earlier in the day, we begin to hear during this time. During this watch, ask God to give
you clear directions for the next day and about His call on your life.
Jesus healed many sick people during this time (Mark 1 :32; Luke 4:40). This watch is usually for those
who have a strong apostolic calling and anointing to break strongholds and walls. This watch is for
seasoned Christians who are determined to do mighty things with boldness in the Lord.
Period for covenant renewal with God
Through Jesus Christ, we have a Covenant with God. In this watch, we can appropriate the blessings of
God's Covenant and ask Him to manifest those blessing into our lives.
Time to release judgment on the wicked and decree into the new day God's blessings upon our life,
family, church, city and nation
Whatever happens during the day is determined to a large extent by what is done during the night. The
evening is the "foundation" of night and the beginning of the watches. People involved in the occult say
that they begin their active witchcraft at midnight. If we begin to pray strategically during this watch with
the Holy Spirit's leading, we can prevent the kingdom of darkness from releasing curses on the new day.
Second Watch (from 9:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M.)
During this watch, intercessors are able to impact the spiritual realm before the enemy gets ready to wreck havoc.
Psalm 119:62 says, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous judgments."
It was at the midnight hour that God struck down the first-born of Egypt, which resulted in His people
being released from captivity and set free to worship Him. This watch is a time when God deals with the
enemies that are trying to keep us from entering into His perfect plan for our lives.
In the natural, this time is characterized by deep darkness. In the spiritual realm, the Second Watch is
when diabolical assignments and sabotage from the enemy are set in motion. This is why it is important
for intercessors at this watch to pray for God's protection over our families, cities and nations, "Let God
arise and His enemies be scattered" (Psalm 68:1).
This is the time for divine judgments, deliverance, prayer for the economy, tearing down walls of
darkness and a" the wicked structures from our economic, educational, religious, and political systems.
Pray aloud Psalm 59 and Psalm 68:1-4. Pray that God will arise and His enemies be scattered. Have a
session of praise and worship exalting God and commanding a" creation to praise Him. Read aloud
Third Watch (The Breaking of Day Watch from 12:00 A.M. to 3:00 A.M.)
This is a period of much spiritual activity. This watch hour will strengthen your faith. It is the same time
that Peter denied Christ three times. (Matt. 26: 34, 74; Mark 14: 30; Luke 22:34; John 13: 38)
The Witching Hour
This watch is the darkest and most demonic part of of the night, especially at midnight. Witches,
warlocks, and satanists have fun and start their incantations during this part of the night. This is when
the deep sleep falls upon men. This is therefore a period of heightened satanic activities. The devil
operates at this time because this is the time that men are asleep and there are not as many people
praying to oppose him (1 Kings 3:20). This watch calls for seasoned intercessors.
Declare Psalm 91 :5,6 for Divine Protection for yourself, family, church, city and nation.
Time to set your day before it begins
This is a powerful watch to be on when commanding the morning and setting things in place before the
devil and his demons have a chance to ruin it. Plane crashes, car crashes, deaths, job loss, and many
other acts of the devil can be stopped during this watch when intercessors obey the voice of the Lord
and saturate this time with powerful Spirit-led prayers.
Time for spiritual warfare
This is the time to awake out of sleep and confront every storm of destruction and distraction that is
robbing you of God's blessings and provisions on your life. Also, it is the time to speak peace and calm
into every situation of turbulence and confusion.
You must not be afraid of witchcraft during this watch. The Lord has given us dominion and authority
over all things. This watch is geared for those who already know how to use their spiritual armor and war
against the enemy. This is the time to pray against satanic attacks on your life, family members,
marriages, churches and communities. We are most vulnerable to the devil's attacks because at this
time we are asleep.
Time to strengthen yourself spiritually and seek direction
Be vigilant during this time and watch for God's revelation for breakthrough and for His plans and
purposes for your life and territory.
Time to pray for release from every prison
The Apostle Paul and Silas were released from prison during this time (Acts 16:25). In addition, God
released the people of Israel from Egypt at this time (Exodus 12:31). According to Judges 16:3-4,
Samson escaped from Gaza at midnight by pulling up the gates of the city and carrying them out with
Time to make your case in prayer.
This is the period to pray for God's provision to be released (Luke 11 :5-13; Acts 16:3). It is also time for
miracles and for applying the Blood of Jesus.
Dreams flow during this hour.
Often, we are awakened during this time with dreams God has given to us. God uses dreams and
visions to bring instruction and counsel to us as we sleep. He also reveals areas where we need to
concentrate our prayers and intercession. "In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls
upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instructions."
The devil can also attack you in dreams (nightmares), so always pray before you go to sleep and ask
God to keep you from the enemy's devices.
Fourth Watch (The Morning Watch from 3:00 AM. to 6:00 AM.)
This fourth watch is always important because this is the last watch of the night. This watch is the time
that the satanic agents who went out to perform their activities are returning to their bases.
Time for deliverance, to rise and shine, for resurrection
This is time for deliverance according to Exodus 12 and 14. This is also the time Jesus walked on the
water to release the disciples from the storms (Matthew 14:25-33). This is the time to ask the new day to
speak into your life according to God's will (Psalm 19:2).
Command your morning.
Matthew 24:43 says: "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief
would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up." This is is
a disciplined prayer watch for those who have the power and training to wake up early in the morning
and set the atmosphere. This is the time for all of the enemy's plans and strategies to fail. This watch is
for gaining territory, establishing the spirit of prosperity and stopping the devil from hijacking blessings
and favor. This prayer watch sets our day before it begins. This is an opportunity to set things in place
before the devil and his demons have a chance to ruin it. Accidents, deaths, thefts, job loss, and any
other acts of the devil can be stopped during this watch when intercessors obey the voice of the Lord
and fill the morning with powerful prayers.
Time for Declaring God's Word.
This is a time for angelic activity or intervention and a time for blessings from heaven. When we pray,
the Lord hears our prayer and sends His angels to work on our behalf.
Consecrate all the work for the day and pray for protection for God's people throughout the day. "You
will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You will also declare a thing
and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways." (Job 22:27-28)
Fifth Watch (The Early Morning Watch from 6:00 AM. - 9:00 AM.)
This is the time that God strengthens Christians. (Acts 2: 15; Psalm 2:7-9)
The spiritual significance of sunrise is having Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, rise
over us (Malachi 4:2). During this watch, pray for such issues as healing in your body, relationships,
family, government, and the economy.
Time to be equipped by the Holy Spirit for service (2 Corinthians 9:3; Ephesians 4:12)
Acts 2:15 says it was the "third hour of the day" (or 9:00 A.M.) when the Holy Spirit descended in the
Upper Room on the day of Pentecost to equip the 120 disciples for service. Regular work schedules
usually begin between the hours of 6:00 AM. and 9:00 AM. As you step out, ask God to equip you for the day., and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Sixth Watch (9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.)
Time for a harvest of God's promises
The watchman guards and watches for the Word of the Lord to be fulfilled. This is the time to expect the
manifestation of God's promises for your life as in the case of David in 2 Samuel 7:25-29.
Prayer for Provision to do God's Work (Exodus 11 :3-4)
This is the time to receive the supply of all resources needed for every God-given project (Exodus
12:35-36). It was the time that the Israelites got everything that they had to use to build the Tabernacle
in the wilderness. Pray for the provision to accomplish whatever God wants you to do.
Time to appropriate the benefits of the Cross (healing, prosperity, forgiveness, strength, etc.).
Jesus was crucified at the third hour, or 9:00 A.M. (Mark 15:25, Matthew 27:45). After having been on
the cross for three hours, darkness came upon the face of the earth at 12:00 P.M. and continued until
3:00 P.M., when the period of darkness ended. Did you notice that even God worked according to the
watches of the day, especially pertaining to the crucifixion events?
Prayer for a crucified life.
It is generally accepted that this time period marked both Christ's sentencing by Pilate and His
crucifixion. Because of the crucifixion, let us ask God to help us manifest all of the values of a crucified
life, by mortifying the deeds of our flesh as stated in Romans 8: 12-15. This is the time to put off the old
man and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:2-11). This is the time to nail witchcraft, bitterness,
jealousy, anger, backbiting, gossip, slander, lying, deception, hypocrisy and all the properties and
personality traits of the devil and all the works of the flesh to the Cross (Gaatians 2:20; 5:19-21).
Prayer for Forgiveness, Healing of Relationships and the Release of Others
"Forgive us for our trespasses ... as we forgive ... " This is the best time to pray this portion of the model
prayer the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples.
The Israelites also observed this period as a time for corporate prayer. It was at this daily time of prayer
and instruction at the Temple in Jerusalem that Peter and John were attending when they healed the
lame man at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 2: 1-8).
The Seventh Watch (12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.)
Midday is an hour of rest and a time to seek the Lord. Historically, Christ was on the cross atoning for
the sins of the world. Redemption and restoration for mankind manifests through God's Son. Peter
received the vision of the clean and unclean animals which initiated the inclusion of the Gentiles in God's
redemptive plan. Also, it was during this watch that Daniel always went home to pray.
This is the time that the promises of God are released, foundations are shaken, and to exercise your
Time of the Secret Place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1)
It is very important to pray in line with Acts 10:9 and Psalm 91 :5, 6, 14. This is the time to pray to "dwell
in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty," and making the Most
High your habitation. Pray and cut off all satanic arrows that are released at this time so that they will not
get you or your family.
Time of letting your light shine brighter until the full light of day is attained (Prov. 4:18)
The midday is the beginning of the sixth hour (12:00 P.M.) This is the time when the sun is at its fullest
and brightest. Pray that your life would be bright. This is also the time to pray not to be led into any
temptation, trap or snare of the enemy.
Eighth Watch (3:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.)
The Hour of Power and Triumphant Glory, Time to Remove anything that is limiting.
This time is an hour of Revelation, hour of Grace, hour of the voice of the Lord, hour of Triumph. This is
the time to die to the world and to self.
Time to Change or Shape History
This was the time God changed history because this watch happens to be the time that Jesus died on
the Cross (3:00 P.M). Jesus went through six hours of suffering for the deliverance of humankind and
the world. Pray for deliverance during this watch. When Jesus died, history was changed forever
because He became our Blood Covenant with God and triumphed over hell, death and the grave. After
His resurrection, Jesus Christ gave us the power to have the same victory as He did. Rejoice that you
have turned your back on sin because you have been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus (1 John 1 :7).