To understand the prayerclock revealed in the Bible we first need to understand the concept of time in the context of the Gospels. It was an era of Roman domination, and Roman ingenuity. Time was measured by 12 hour sundials and at night bywater clocks. Jesus says in John’s Gospel: “Are there not 12 hours of daylight (John 11:9). What seems rather obvious for us now was relatively new in that period of history. The concept of time in the Old Testament was one marked by the positions of the sun and of the stars. The exact measurement of time with units of hours was a foreign concept.
It was the Roman army that instituted the 12 hours of the day and also of the night, implementing a practice that was well established in Rome. The day was marked by the ringing of the forum bell every three hours starting at six am. Nine am was called the “third hour” since three hours had passed since sunrise. The noon bell was called the “sixth hour”, lunch time. The bell at three in the afternoon was called “the ninth hour” and was the call back to work. The first church bells were designed as a call to prayer at these hours. At six pm the first military watch began, and was aptly called the “first watch.” Night was marked by the sounding of trumpets every three hours, as the military watches changed. Nine pm or nightfall was called the “second watch.” Midnight was the beginning of the “third watch”. And the last watch or fourth watch began at three am. And it is this framework of time that Jesus invaded as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and transformed to give divine purpose through prayer.
Jesus affirms the power of persistent prayer day and night in Luke 18:7. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” Jesus also refers to the need to be spiritually vigilant in the context of mentioning the four watches. “Therefore, keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back – whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn” (Mark 13:35-36). The reality is that Christ’s Kingdom is activated here on earth as it is in heaven through the house of prayer, his kingdom of priestly intercessors, operating completely according to his divine prayer clock and agenda. Below in the sections on Prayer Hours and Prayer Watches you will discover the biblical prayer clock times and prayer themes that God has laid out for us in his divine plan for establishing his kingdom through intercession. They are biblically based hours and themes for petition that are meant to serve as a guideline but not as a rule. Use the theme and petitions, with their scriptures, as a starting point for being directed by the Holy Spirit in your intercession.