On the day Christ was betrayed by Judas into the hands of those who killed Him, He instructed His disciples to watch and pray (Matthew.26:41). After the last supper, He proceeded to the garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. He went a little further to pray leaving His disciples behind to pray as well. He instructed them to watch and pray before they enter into temptation. They were to watch and pray because they knew not when the hour will come. Sadly, His disciples spent longer time in sleeping while He was seriously praying. Sadly, the Jews came and arrested Jesus. In a bid to defend themselves, Peter took a knife and sliced Marcus ear. This happened because they refused to watch and pray.
The church of our Lord Jesus Christ has been instructed to watch and pray at a time like this. The enemy, which is the arch enemy of Christians battles hard to ensure that Christians are defeated. Like the disciples in the Gethsemane, many Christians have fallen into a deep sleep. It is not just a deep sleep but also a deadly sleep. The church has become to lukewarm and it seems as if the enemy is gaining ground. Remember, while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way (Matthew.13:25). The sleep of Christians creates a platform for the enemy to strike. The devil can never strike an ever vigilant Christian. If we refuse to sleep, the devil can never sow any tares in our lives.
As we are currently in the end time, we must be aware that the enemy is seriously strategizing. He has different strategies at his disposal and if one does not work, he deploys another. Once again, we are commanded to watch and pray at all times. At a point, we might appear to defeat one of the strategies of the enemy. Yet, that does not give us complete victory over the devil. If the devil finds out that we have overcome one of his strategy, he pulls another. Therefore, on our side we must be careful at all times. Many Christians go about celebrating careless victory and at that point, the devil strikes.
WHY WE MUST WATCH AND PRAY
The Lord instructs the church to watch and pray at all times. The instruction to watch and pray was not only given to the disciples but to all of us. What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch (Mark.13:37). We are to watch and pray for the following reasons;
1) Christ commands it: The very first reason why we ought to watch and pray is because Jesus Himself commanded us to do so. The only way we can show our love for the Lord is by keeping His commandments (John.14:15). Every commandment of the Lord is very important to Him. He demands nothing but obedience from us whenever He commands us to do anything. If we must please God in our lives here on earth, then we must watch and pray. Christ will never instruct us to do anything that is not important to both Himself and us to. Therefore, we must live and obey Him.
2) We are at the end time: An end time like this demand watchfulness from every Christian. The coming of Christ will be unannounced therefore we must watch and pray (Matthew.25:13). The word end time simply means the end of the time. The end of the time showcases the coming of the Savior. The activities of the devil in this end time spreads in a geometric progression. Evil keeps expanding like a wild fire. As evil keeps spreading, unfortunately, many Christians are fast asleep. Sleeping the sleep of death. If we must not be consumed by this wild fire of evil, then we must watch and pray. A watching and praying Christian can never be taken unaware of the happens of this end time. Therefore, watch and pray.
3) That we do not fall into temptation: The devil is busy working hard to soil the testimonies of many professing Christians. Look at the environment today and see the great decay. See how those who profess to be Christians has erred from the faith because the fell into temptations and the devil used that avenue to silence them. If we must overcome, we must watch and pray always. The devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness but Jesus was able to overcome because He just concluded His forty days fasting and prayer. The devil tempted Jesus thrice but Christ overcame fully. Therefore at a time like this, looking at the rate at which many are falling away, we must watch and pray that we do not fall like others. We must watch and pray that we do not fall where others fell.
4) Because our enemy is always active: If there is one special character about, it is the fact that he does not give up. We must watch and pray because the enemy who is our arch enemy also watches, though he does not pray. I could suppose that the devil is more vigilant than any Christian on earth. He is ever active. He tempts people of different level and status. He tempts people of different age and caliber. Therefore we must be watchful.
Unfortunately, many Christians undermine the power and the ability of the devil. Of a truth, he is not omnipotent, yet he is very powerful. The same devil whom many Christians abuse and undermine his ability has destroyed the life and eternity of many. Christ, seek not repose while you fight the devil. Christian, while you fight the devil, watch and pray.
5) Because life is a battle: From my angle, another reason why we must watch and pray is because we are in a battle field. Life is a battle. Who is our enemy? The devil. Therefore, we must watch and pray in the battle field before the enemy makes a reproach of us. If God leaves us to fight alone with the devil, oh what a doom that shall be. We defeat the enemy because of Jesus on our side. If God is not on our side, all the people on earth put together can never defeat the devil. Therefore watch and pray.
6) Watch and pray to avoid distraction: When the devil want to destroy a man, he starts by distracting him. He distracts the man so as to take away his attention from the things that matters most. When his attention is taking away from the things that matters most, then the devil will strike. But the good news is that a man who knows how to watch and pray is always vigilant. A vigilant man can never be taken unawares.
A Sincere Prayer From a Sincere Heart
THE INSTRUCTION IS TO WATCH AND PRAY
Jesus’ instruction is to watch and pray. Unfortunately, many people pray without watching. Other watch without praying. These are the two sets of the most careless believers in existence. As Christians, we must ensure that we strike a balance between the both.
If you pray without watching, you will be like a careless soldier who goes to the battle with all his amour, yet does not know where the enemies are. When you do not know where the enemies are, you will never know where the will come from.
A man who watches without praying is like a careless soldier who goes to the battlefield, knowing all the secrets of the enemies. He knows their hideout, the number, their amour and more. But unfortunately, he has no weapon to fight them.
These two categories of soldiers will go to the battlefield and not return alive. Therefore as a Christian, ensure you do not just watch only. As a Christian, ensure you do not just pray only. Balance the equation. Strike a balance and then, spiritual victory will be your lot.
In conclusion, I enjoin every sleeping Christian to wake up. Our arch enemy does not sleep, therefore we must not sleep as well. Our arch enemy has destroyed a lot of people and if we do not take time, we will be the next. This end time calls for serious and relentless prayers if we must end well. Day by day, the battle gets tougher. As the battle gets tougher, it is a clear indication that the time of our redemption is at hand (Luke.21:28). The end is at hand.
Therefore, if we must end our race in joy and receive the reward, we must watch and pray. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. Therefore, if we must wield the power to stand to the very end, then we must watch and pray relentlessly.
Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find them watching (Luke.12:37). And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so that the day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the son of man (Luke.21:34-36).
Let me conclude this article with a hymn titled “Christian, Seek Not Yet Repose” by Charlotte Elliott
Christian, seek not yet repose,
Hear thy gracious Savior say;
Thou art in the midst of foes:
Watch and pray.
Principalities and powers,
Mustering their unseen array,
Wait for thy unguarded hours:
Watch and pray.
Gird thy heavenly armor on,
Wear it ever night and day;
Ambushed lies the evil one:
Watch and pray.
Hear the victors who o’ercame,
Still they mark each warrior’s way;
All with one sweet voice exclaim,
Watch and pray.
Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
Him thou lovest to obey;
Hide within thy heart His word:
Watch and pray.
Watch, as if on that alone
Hung the issue of the day;
Pray, that help may be sent down:
Watch and pray.
By – C.M.O. CHUKWUEKE