Seven times in the New Testament, we read the command to “Watch and Pray” from Jesus and his disciples. What exactly are we supposed to watch and pray for? First, in both Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38, Jesus tells us to watch and pray against temptation. He understands that we will be tempted. As long as we are on this earth, we have a choice to fuel either the flesh or the spirit. Don’t be surprised when you are tested and tempted as even Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness! However, understand that the same Spirit and power can dwell in you through receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus states a powerful truth that “the spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.” While the human mind and will are powerful, God’s spirit is greater. Therefore, the power of watchfulness combined with prayer are two disciplines to master as we learn to submit our flesh to the will of God and to become full of His spirit. The act of watching is not something passive rather it is something active. We become diligent and expectant for what God is saying and doing. We partner with Christ and become co-laborers with other Christians in the mission field through acts of service and evangelism.
In addition to resisting temptation, Jesus also states to watch and pray for Christ’s second coming. As in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, Jesus has left us with talents and responsibilities and at the end of our life our desire should be to hear him say “good and faithful servant.” What are you doing with the talents God has given you? Your life, time, gifts, finances, health, and so much more. No one knows when Christ is returning but in both Mark 13 and Luke 21 there are some specific signs that we are to look for to prepare for His return. While we don’t serve God out of fear in terms of being scared of Him or of the ramifications of not serving Him, we do serve Him out of a fear and reverence to be in His presence in eternity.
Finally, the disciples share Jesus’ words to Watch and Pray in the following three scriptures:
- Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
- Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
- 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
From these scriptures, we learn of the importance of praying for one another. When was the last time you encouraged someone within the church walls through words of affirmation, spending time with them, a hug, or a gift? Do you pray for missionaries – domestic and international – volunteers and spiritual leaders and watch to see how they are doing? In addition to watching and praying, are you genuinely thankful and content with life? In the New Living Translation, 1 Peter 4:7 states, “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.” How earnest and disciplined are you in your daily communication with God – your prayers? I challenge you to Watch & Pray by participating in the upcoming events:
- Wednesday’s REVIVE Services starting at 6:30PM
- Attending this Sunday’s September 6th 10:00 AM Church Service & Picnic
- Registering for a 12 week Life Group
How will you choose to Watch & Pray this week, month, year, and lifetime?