Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
What did Jesus mean when He said “Watch and Pray?” Here is a true story from a friend of mine that I believe will help us understand what Jesus was talking about.
While going to a grocery store one day the Lord prompted me to remain in the car while my friends went in to do some shopping. In the car next to me was a little dog sitting in the driver’s seat, staring intently at the sliding glass doors of the store. This 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. Many times people would come out of that door and the dog would get excited until he realized that it was not his master. Then the dog would return to his intense watchful position, not disappointed, but with an obvious understanding that one of these times his master would appear, he had only to wait patiently.
I knew the Lord was Fathering me. My attention was on this dog like his attention was on the door. Through this little dog, the Lord showed me what He meant when He said “watch.”
Eventually the little dog’s master exited the door. His excitement and enthusiasm came completely unhinged! I could hear his happy little whines and yelps as he watched his owner walk to the car. His love and appreciation for his master was unquestionable.
They could not have been apart for more than 30 minutes, yet the dog greeted his master like he had been missing him for a month. To this dog, his master was the most precious person on the planet. He desperately wanted to be with his master. It was obvious this dog was longing for another opportunity to love on his master with everything that was in him. I wept as I watched this unfold before me.
After hearing this story of the little dog, I was convicted that we often take the Lord for granted. That our attention is often on the wrong things. We may not fully understand what it means to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:30) But this little dog understood.
Do we really see Him as our master, the one who paid for us with His very own blood? Are our hearts divided? Our minds distracted? Do we allow other things matter more than what should matter most?
What would it be like if we saw our Heavenly Father the way this little dog saw his master? What difference would it make in our lives? How would it affect our relationships with the Lord and others? What would it do to our perspectives? How would it affect our faith?
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 often approach God with our laundry list of needs and wants like He wasn’t serious when He said that.
The Christian faith is a very focused perspective. A Christian has a narrow way of thinking, believing, speaking and behaving. This cannot be fully realized without practicing watchfulness.
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 the Father do. Jesus was able to do what He did because He constantly practiced watching the Father. Could this be a reason that we don’t see the level of supernatural life that we read about in the gospels and the book of Acts?
The discipline of watching helps move us from being a child to a mature son or daughter. It is only the mature ones that can receive their full inheritance. (Gal 4:1-2)
The discipline of watching creates an awareness of God that puts life in proper perspective. The more we keep our attention and focus on Him, the clearer we become on who He is and who we are to Him.
Being watchful produces an integrity of heart that makes resisting temptation easy. It keeps us prepared to face anything that life would dish out. Watchfulness is one of the most important parts of prayer. When we practice watching, we know better what to pray for and how to pray. We know what to do and how to do it. It positions us to be a vessel that the Father can move through. Watchfulness sanctifies us.
Luke 21:34-36 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with 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 be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Mark 13:33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
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