Watch and Pray



Watchfulness is very much related to prayerfulness and vice versa. A prayerful person’s inner eyes are opened to see the spiritual realm more than the physical realm. Such a person senses any sound of approaching enemy faster and quicker than others. As the end days have now come, the devil as the roaring lion roams around all God’s children to see whom he might devour. And the only way to escape is by being prayerful and being watchful.

Mark 13: 33, 36-37,Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”’ Here, Jesus is asking His disciples to watch and to pray lest they fall spiritually asleep. A person, if awake, will respond when anyone calls i.e. the response to sounds and even whispers will be seen. But a sleeping person is unable to do the same. Prophet Elijah was a prayerful person. His ministry and life were rooted in prayers. But in 1st Kings 19, when he was threatened by Jezebel, we see him fleeing into wilderness in fear. He covered one day’s journey into the wilderness and slept under a juniper tree. And Elijah had not prayed for this one day, for he was distressed and was overcome by threats.  The prophet, who used to pray literally all the time, now was overcome by overwhelming fear and panic, so much so that he could not pray for one day. This one day of prayerlessness lead him to weariness and spiritual sleep. He was unable to respond to the threats with prayers of faith. His ministry seemed to come to a standstill. He responded to his own flesh by wishing to die. But, God’s mercy sent an angel to awaken him and to strengthen him. Prophet Elijah was back to his prayerfulness and was thus restored to his ministry.  These are the times when even a day of prayerlessness might prove to be costly for our spiritual lives.

Mk.14:37-38, ‘Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Here in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked Peter to watch with him in prayer for one hour lest he would enter into temptation. But Peter was too weary and tired to pray. He slept instead. He could not overcome the weakness of his flesh. Jesus too was facing overwhelming sorrow for He was now very close to his crucifixion. He too was facing temptation. Hence, He prayed first to take away the cup of suffering away from Him. But soon He overcame by praying for God’s will to happen (Mt.26:39). Temptation in literal sense is the fight between flesh and spirit.  James 1:14, ‘But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.’  The strive between one’s own desires and the desire of the Holy Spirit is the time of temptation. Jesus overcame the temptation through fervent prayers. Soon after Jesus prayed thrice in the garden of Gethsemane, a great multitude came with swords and staves and arrested Jesus.  In John 18, we read about the response of Jesus and Peter to this scene. Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest, while Jesus asked Peter to keep aside the sword immediately and he healed the servant’s wound. These are the two responses we see here. One of a prayerful person i.e. Jesus, who healed the person who came to arrest Him. The other is Peter, who could not pray for that one hour with Jesus. He responded with sword. Our response to the swords and threats determines the prayerfulness of our souls. Our flesh can win if we miss even an hour of prayer when its needed the most. A timely prayer can deliver us from many snares and temptations of the enemy.

Lk.21:34-36,‘’But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with [h]carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may [i]be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21 talks mainly about the signs of the end days, which we are now literally seeing today, one after the other. Life is becoming tougher and tougher on this earth. Even our normal breathing of free and open air has been challenged. In the midst of all these, there is every chance that our hearts become overwhelmed with issues and cares of this life, which in turn might deprive us of our eternal life with Christ. Hence, here Jesus is saying to pray always so that we can escape the snare of the evil that will come upon this whole world. The prayerfulness of a person helps a person to discern rightly the weapons formed against us and helps us to overcome the same. It takes only a moment to loose our salvation. These are the days when even the elect are falling. Hence, apostle Paul stressed always on unceasing prayers. It keeps our spiritual eyes open and alert to moves of the enemy prowling around us. It helps us to identify the unholiness within ourselves and to repent and to be restored.

When we are overwhelmed with attacks of threats, swords, emotional challenges and we feel extremely tired and weary to pray, the only option to overcome is to gird up our mind with the mind of Christ. He chose to pray at the most difficult times and the most painful times. When flesh says ‘’cannot pray at all’’, may the inner person say, “will surely pray and pray till we overcome’. And we will witness the presence of God strengthening our mind and flesh, fully arming us with the armor of God. Eph.6:18, ‘’…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ‘’. Many pray once, twice, thrice or even more in a day. But prayerfulness is all about our hearts being rooted and immersed in prayers. Prayers are direct communication with our Lord which has great power to cut off and uproot all the strongholds that pull us down spiritually. May God strengthen us to grow in prayers more as we see the great day of the Lord approaching fast. May we be watchful and prayerful.

 

God bless us all

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There are times when life is overwhelming, when all we have is questions. In those moments, hope can feel far away. The great thing about prayer is that it shifts our perspective toward the One who stands ready to listen. No matter what you’re facing, we’d love to pray with you!


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