The Witching Hour
The witching hour or devil’s hour, in folklore, is a time of night that is linked with evil supernatural activity. During that time, it is believed that demons and witches are most powerful. The phrase “witching hour” originated, in 1535, when the Catholic Church in Europe forbade activities during the 3:00 am and 4:00 fearing the practice of witchcraft. And the phrase was later mentioned in 1775, in the poem “Night, an Ode” by Rev. Matthew West.
According to this theory, the timing of the witching hour may vary based on the different definitions. It includes the hour immediately after midnight, and the time between 3:00 am and 4:00 am. The term now has a colloquial and idiomatic usage that is related with human physiology, behavior, and superstition.
In our modern days, violent crimes and DUI incidents naturally peak at midnight peaking to around 2:00 am. Influenced by the idea of “witching hour,” Washington D.C. ordered state curfew hours between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am to reduce gun violence.
The Scriptures and the Witching Hour
The Scriptures don’t say anything about the witching hour. The devil works all through the hours of the day. Therefore, Christians are to be watchful at all times whether during the day or during the night. Jesus taught,
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36 also Matthew 26:40-41; Mark 13:33-37).
Being our example, Christ was ready at all times to meet temptation by continual prayer, fasting, and committing Himself wholly to God. Just before His trial and Crucifixion, He spent hours “in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground“ (Luke 22:44). And He urged the sleeping disciples, repeatedly to pray: “…Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40, 46). When the mob came to seize him, He said, “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).
The seriousness of the times we live in and the difficulties that abound today should lead every believer to strict self-discipline and a life of fervent prayer. The Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The Lord’s Protection
Christians need not fear the dark forces that work through the night. The Psalmist wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). The Lord can turn the night into day (Psalm 139:2). Bunyan has made the phrase “the shadow of death” especially precious to readers of his great allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress.
And after a season of prayer, when the Christian rests at night, he can still be assured of the Lord’s protection. For “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121: 3,4).
Psalm 91 contains a message of comfort to those that dwell in the presence of God: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Verses 1-6).
In His service,