A 3 O’clock Habit
I am presently in the Philippines and I witnessed something interesting. It is 3 o’clock habit. The Philippines, being a majority Catholic country, has a tradition that I have witnessed since I was a little boy. They call it the 3 o’clock habit. At 3 o’clock sharp in most major stores and businesses they stop, frozen in place, and stand in silence as a prayer is broadcast by the Cardinal of the Philippines. It is followed by the rosary. It lasts about 2-3 minutes and is simply referred to as the “3 o’clock habit”. At 3o’clock every day nearly everyone is forced to think about Jesus, and of course, for Catholics, Mary.
This, however, is not the 3 o’clock habit I am talking about. The 3 o’clock habit I witnessed was at 3 o’clock in the morning! Right now I am with a group of Philippine pastors teaching 180 other leaders in the mountains of Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines. We are sleeping in an old missionary house which has paper thin walls. What formerly housed a family of four is now a temporary home to 13 leaders! It’s a bit crowded and the thin walls allow us to hear everything. Here in the mountains it is nice and cool and I slept very well. However, at 3 o’clock in the morning I heard a beautiful song. One of the pastors and his wife were singing a soft worship song in the Cebuano language. It was beautiful. They sung with harmonies, yet quietly. Eventually, I drifted back to sleep. About an hour later I heard another worship song. It was equally beautiful.
A few hours later when we were meeting for breakfast I inquired which family was the early morning singing family. One by one the pastors denied it was them. However, my friend Nic Paul and his wife admitted to being the worshippers. I had to ask if that was normal for them. Brother Paul replied, “It is our 3 o’clock habit”. Every morning at 3 o’clock they sing a worship song the Lord and then pray for their family, churches and nation. After praying together for an hour they sing another song to the Lord and then get up and do the day’s work. What an amazing commitment to the Lord. What an amazing commitment to their family and churches. Commitment like this can change a nation.
Not only that, but Brother Paul proceeded to tell me that actually there is a group of leaders who have committed to pray together through the whole night. They are praying nightly in one hour shifts for their families, churches and nation. Truly with godly leaders like this Mindanao island in the Philippines will see great revival!