(Matt 26:36-41) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and Pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.
The key thought that I'd like to develop in today's meditation is the command that Jesus is giving us to Watch and to Pray. These key ministries of a believer is designed to help the Church of God to live victoriously in these times. While the original context of these verses happened in the poignant occasion of Jesus being in the garden of Gethsemane, the truth of these words are timeless and very relevant for the end time church.
The word watch implies a certain watchfulness and alertness. It is essentially a military word - where one of the important stances in defense warfare is establishing a watch. The purpose of the watchtower and watchmen is for the very same reason. The Lord says in the song of solomon:
(Song 7:4) Thy neck [is] as a tower of ivory; thine eyes [like] the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose [is] as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
The nose of the bride of Christ is described as an organ of discernment - it is described as a tower (a watchtower)that is on the lookout towards Damascus (i.e. the capital of the enemy - Assyria). Friends, the ministry of watching is concentrated on the attacks of the enemy. It is an alertness and a watchfulness concerning the domains that the Lord has given us - whether it be our selves, our families, the church or our nation. We are ordained as the watchmen of these domains as God calls us.
Why should we step into this ministry of Watching ?
If you don't realize it, we are in a war of a cosmic origin. We are the soldiers of Christ and it is upto us to stand guard against the wiles of the enemy. Satan and the world is coming at us (us, families, church, and nations) with a vigor and frenzy because he knows his time is short. If we watch, then the lord will anoint us with a prophetic watchman anointing and will show us the enemy attacks in time for us to pray and release the deliverance on the same. When we watch, we are becoming partners with the Lord - for He is the real watchman - He who watches over us shall neither slumber nor sleep. Watches in warfare happen in shifts. After our watch shift is over, we handover the shift to the Lord and say - Lord - our 2 hour watch is over. I can't do a 24-hour watch - Will you watch over me, and my family and my church and my nation as I get on with the other tasks for me ? The word of God reminds us "except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.".
This is not a new concept in the bible. The old testament is full of references to watchmen - especially in the books of the prophets, it was a much needed parable to show the need for the spiritual watchmen. All ministers are watchmen (or they need to be). The Royal priesthood is a set of watchmen. Every father and mother is a watchman. Every teacher is a watchman. Every prayer warrior is a watchman.
(Mark 13:33) Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
(Luke 21:36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
(Eph 6:18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watchingthereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(Col 4:2) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
As a father, as a husband, we cannot neglect this ministry because the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our family is at stake when we are in this war! As a church, we need the combined ministry of watching and praying to align to the purposes of God and to actively resist the wiles of the devil. In the book of Nehemiah, we see that they (when oppressed by Tobias, Sanballat, etc) set a perpetual watch for them to proceed with the building of the divinely commissioned wall.
(Neh 4:9) Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
This is a habit that takes time to develop. As the lord reminds us, the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Peter has a real issue with staying alert. He is seen to sleep in the time of the transfiguration, during the ordeal in Gethsemane, before he is shown an open door to the gentiles, even when he is in the prison. But we see him filled with the watchman anointing when in the epistles of Peter, we see him prophetically declaring the things to happen 30 years down the lane - the false teachers and false teachings and the signs of times. He was able to declare this, because he became a watchman for the church. Paul, when he writes in Acts 20, warns of things that will come to pass a few years or decades down the lane. The sage advice which is still relevant in church to this day.
I write this devotional as a burden, because we have gone into unnecessary tests and temptations because we have neglected to watch and pray. Let us watch and let us draw near to God in prayer, so that He will preserve us from the temptation!
Father, we ask you to glorify your son Jesus in us. Lord, teach us to pray and to watch for ourselves, our family and our church, as indeed you count us our brothers keepers. Help us to come to the watchmen anointing. In Jesus name we ask and pray, Amen.