Watching and Praying

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:4-41)

Someone asked the question what does watching mean in the phrase watch and pray? This passage was when Yeshua was praying in the garden before Judas’ betrayal, so one might say the watching was being alert to what was happening. However, we are told to watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” (Mark 13:35-37) Alert watching is an important part of faith and prayer. If we believe God responds to prayer we will be looking for His response. We know our prayer is according to His perfect will which is often different from our reasoning or limitations of expression. This is why the Spirit prays with groans that transcend spoken language. (Rom. 8:26)

The colloquialism “Blind Faith”is a secular expression of last resort and little hope. Faith of Believers is not blind, but based on scripture, promises, Spirit leading, experience, historical precedent and reality. Therefore, we watch being alert to circumstances, people, our vision, expectations, hopes and ongoing spiritual revelation. The church was praying for Peter after his arrest, but when he knocked upon their door, they didn’t believe it was him. (Acts 12:14-15) God is dynamic in our perception, though we understand He is an immovable force of Sovereign will, His ways and means are often beyond figuring out. He is able to use the worst circumstances to bring glory and triumph to himself, which we could never conceive. While watching we must never take matters in our own hands in an attempt to accomplish God’s vision as Abraham did producing Ishmael. (Gen. 16:1-12) God told the Israeli remnant through Jeremiah to submit to Babylonian rule and live, but they refused and died. (Jer. 27:4-11) Our own expectations and false prophets saying what we want to hear should not be trusted. Yeshua Messiah came as a meek suffering servant as the prophets foretold, but the Jewish leaders wanted a conquering hero and one who would accept their corruption, self-righteousness, and pride. Our prayers should be modified as soon as we see we have asked amiss, with prejudice or from motives unaligned with the Spirit. Prayer changes things. We should not be surprised when we are the objects of change and keep watching.

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