A successful life is one lived on the basis of the wisdom of God, which amongst other things, is premised on being watchful and prayerful. God is eternal in His perspective, so He admonishes us to “Watch therefore, and pray always…” – Luke 21:36.
But is this call unto watchfulness as a result of the literal sleep we embark on every now and then? ‘Sleep’ here connotes being insensitive to one’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and to one’s spiritual responsibilities. It also means to be ignorant of the peculiarities of the times we live in, to be unaware of the full extent to which the kingdom of darkness is wreaking havoc, and to be oblivious of the will of God.
What does it mean to watch and pray? The Bible is replete with numerous commandments on the need for us to be watchful – to be vigilant and on guard, fully awake, aware, alert, sober, intently focused, and properly use our minds. To pray means to have a constant connection with God; that we seek Him for all things that pertain to life and godliness. Being watchful, combined with prayer and timely obedience, gives one the strength to successfully navigate through life in its entirety.
Watchfulness and prayerfulness are intricately interwoven. A man with a keen spatial awareness in the spirit will be sold out to a life of prayer, because he is aware of issues that can only be decided in the place of prayer. Conversely, a prayerful individual will become watchful, because he has developed the capacity to wait on God for His leading. The outcome of this cyclical spiritual exercise is the development of a formidable faith that can make all things possible, in accordance with God’s eternal will.
More than ever before, there is the urgent need for us to activate the dual armour of watching and praying. This will equip us to recognize temptations and challenges for what they really are, to be in sync with the various seasons of our lives and to discern the leading of God at all times. The solutions to the menaces which consistently attempt to undermine God’s perfect will for humanity and also questions His dominion over all of creation can only be effectively birthed in us when we position ourselves like Habakkuk, who said, “I will stand my watch, and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer…”
The making of the 21st century believer who will live triumphantly and do unlimited exploits for the kingdom is rooted in a place of koinonia (intimate fellowship) with God. Waiting on God activates the following for us: insights for living, friendship with God that gives us access to His mind, favour, speed in the right direction, divine love, joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of the spirit.
When God instructs us to “watch”, it is because He is poised to reveal the deep things of His mind to you; when He drops a prayer burden on our hearts, it is because He is interested in coming through for us. Watching and praying brings clarity to our minds, allow us fulfil God’s purpose for our lives, empowers us to have dominion over the sinful nature, and to advance in our faith-walk with God.
At the heart of the matter is: we must be watchful so we can guard against anything that will derail us on our journey to eternal life with God. What will it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? As we live through each day, it is expedient to never lose sight of eternity. We must be bullish against unrighteousness, anxiety, and complacency. There are depths in God that can only be accessed as we wait on Him, trusting Him with our lives and demonstrating absolute allegiance to His Lordship.
Written by Matthew Mancha