What did Jesus mean when He said “Watch and Pray?”
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Just what are we watching for?
I remember going to a store one day and remaining in the car while my friends went in to do some shopping. In the car next to me was this little dog sitting in the driver’s seat staring intently at the door of the store. This little dog would not take his eyes off that door. Every time the automatic doors would slide open the little dog’s ears would perk up. He would stand with his front paws on the steering wheel panting, wide eyed and tail wagging expectantly. Time and time again people would come out of the door that was not his master and the dog would return to his intense watchful position, not disappointed, but with an obvious understanding that one of these times it will be his master, he had only to wait patiently.
As I watched this dog the Lord showed me through this simple illustration that this is what He is talking about when He said “watch.” Eventually the little dog’s master did exit the door. His excitement and enthusiasm came unhinged! I could hear his happy little whines and yelps as he watched his master walk strait to the car. His love and appreciation for his owner was unquestionable.
They could not have been apart for more than 30 minutes, yet the dog greeted his owner like he had been missing him for a month. To this dog, his master was the most precious person on the planet, and could not bear to be apart from him for any length of time. It was so obvious this dog loved his master with everything that was in him.
What would it be like if we saw our Heavenly Father this way? What difference would it make in our lives? How would it affect our relationship with Him? What would it do to our perception of life? How would it affect our joy? Our peace? Our faith?
After seeing this little dog I am convinced that we often take the Lord for granted. That we don’t really relate to Him like He is the creator of the universe, the master of ALL. Our hearts are divided, our minds are distracted and we allow other things matter more than what should matter most.
The Bible says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all our needs will be met. (Matt 6:33) Yet we continue to approach God with our laundry list of needs and wants like He wasn’t serious when He said that.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is about living a life with a very narrow, focused perspective. To maintain that perspective we must be imitators of Jesus. Jesus said this:
John 5:19-20 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Jesus ONLY did what He saw. Jesus was able to do what He did because He constantly practiced watching the Father. He truly did “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Could this be a big reason that we don’t see the level of supernatural life that we read about in the book of Acts?
The discipline of watching moves us from being a child/servant to a mature son. It is only the mature sons that can receive an inheritance. (Gal 4:1-2)
The discipline of watching creates an awareness of God that puts all of life in proper perspective. The more we keep our attention and focus on Him, the clearer we become on who He really is and who we really are to Him.
The discipline of watching produces an integrity of heart that makes resisting temptation easy.
The discipline of watching keeps you prepared to face anything that life would dish out to you.
The discipline of watching may be the most important part of prayer. When we practice watching, we know what to pray for and how to pray. We know what to do and how to do it. We position ourselves to be a trusted vessel that the Father can use to flow through.
One of the hardest things we will ever do in our prayer life is …NOTHING! Ok, nothing isn’t quite the word we are looking for. Silent Waiting is a better way to say it.
Waiting in silence, expecting God to reveal Himself to us, is a powerful and fruitful endeavor. Quietly meditating on who He is and what He has spoken to us in His word or by His Spirit is an amazing exercise of our faith and is very pleasing to our Father.
Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
The Good Shepherd, by the Holy Spirit, is always trying to lead us to a place of peace and stillness. It is a place of refreshing and restoration. It is a place to find direction and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Waiting on God renews our strength.
The practice of silent meditation upon God and His word fills up our spiritual gas tanks and empowers us to run well.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
It is in the Stillness that God is known. Reading God’s word and listening to preaching and teaching helps us to know about God, but spending time in His presence is what we need to actually know Him intimately. God is raising up a people in this generation that will live life from the outflow of His presence, rather than merely living by the principles in His word.
“In our stillness before Him, He prepares us to host His presence.”
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
“Silently waiting on God anchors our soul.”
When life throws us a curve ball, when things get tough and it seems like we are pressed on every side with problems, difficulties and even attacks of the enemy. Silently waiting on God and thinking about His goodness, His greatness, His faithfulness and His amazing love for us gives us strength to stand in faith and trust in His tender mercies and his power to deliver us out of all our troubles.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,
Quietness and stillness should be practiced individually and corporately to keep us from trusting in the world and its systems. The Lord is speaking through Isaiah a strong word of correction to His people for trusting in Egypt for their strength and salvation instead of Him. Unfortunately, they would not have it.
In this age of distractions and constant movement it is vitally important that we practice stillness in God’s presence.
“Peace is the frequency of God. We must tune in to this channel of stillness to hear the still small voice of the Spirit.”