Prayer Watch and Pray

June 28, 2015   Mark 14:32 – 42  Watch and Pray 


   What is the most beautiful setting or thing you have ever seen?  I hope sooner or later your mind goes to the Lord.    What is the most beautiful thing you have every watched?   We have watched a lot of things in our life.  We have seen God’s beautiful creation, sun sets, mountains and gardens.    We watched as Y2K came and go.  We had to change our whole payroll system at Sanders because it would not handle the New Year so that was an interesting time for us.  We watch and have seen terrific weather issues, 9/11. terrorism, earth quakes and etc. today.  Things seem to be changing.

   We have seen children grow up and probably have heard comments like the following: “I can’t let you out of my sight for one minute!” How many parents here have ever said that? “   You said it to a small child, bent on doing something that would hurt or doing something they should not do.   I remember reading about a child who prayed dear God please do not let mommy see with her eyes behind her head.     Perhaps some of us have said it to our teenager who doing something they should not be doing.     We watch the news and TV.   We have been watching the world change and at times we grieve over the events and troubles in the world. 

    We know we are being watched.  Our government is watching and listening sometimes probably illegally.  We know that God is watching us.   Job struggled with his suffering.  In chapter 19 Job says His anger burns against me he counts me among his enemies.  In chapter 29 how I long for the months gone by for the days when God watched over me.  The Psalmist David knew that God watched over him.  Your thoughts towards me are more than the grains of sand on the sea shore. David wrote you know what I am going to say before I say it.  God knows my words before I ever think of them.   It is hard to comprehend God’s love for usJesus further defines God’s watch care over us.   Jesus said the hairs of our head are all numbered.  It is plain that God is watching us. 

    We watch a lot of things.  We watch what we do at work and when we drive.  The bible says quite a bit about watching and it uses several different words.  Here are some words out of the King James Version: watch, watched, watcher, watchers, watches, watching, watchings, watchman, watchman’s, watchmen, and finally watchtower.    When you get into the word meanings for watch according to Vines Expository Dictionary there are 3 noun meanings which are Phulake and Koustodia and Agruptnia.  The verbs have 5 meanings: Gregoreo, Tereo, Paratereo, Agrupneo, and Nepho.  The word we are most interested in is Gregoreo and there are 2 different meanings to that word.   That word means to be awake to stay awake to be spiritually alert to be watchful and to be vigilant.  Watching is very important in the word of God.   

   So we watch a lot of things and our lives are full of watching people and events.  Do we think about watching in spiritual terms?   I think some of us watch in a spiritual sense each other our children and our spouses.  Hebrews watch one another in case a root of bitterness springs up and keep each other away from sin.   There is another element of watching spiritually and that is watching God.  David said that I may behold the beauty of the Lord.   Do you see yourself as a watch person? 

    In Ezekiel 33 God says, “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head.    Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head.    If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. 

     But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’   “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.   When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.   But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.”   The watchman in the Old Testament had the responsibility to stay awake.   The “watchman” in the Old Testament had the role of physically watching out for enemies or spiritually warning of God’s judgment to come.  When Jesus and Paul used the word “watch” in other contexts, it also can be connected to the coming judgment of God.  

    He had to warn the people when they was a need to warn them.  Should an enemy shoot a flaming arrow that would stick in the wall or a gate he was responsible to put out the flame or alert others of the fire.   Viet Nam was to do guard duty.  When you are lax that is when you can get into trouble.   Over the years the penalty for sleeping on guard duty can be death.  Watching at your station is important.  Paying attention is important. 

      Kevin East writes when I pray with my kids, I can tell their minds are somewhere else.  They might have their eyes closed, but talking to God is the very last thing on their minds.  I guess for us adults, some things never change.  Years ago I read a quote by Mother Teresa.  When asked what she says when she prays she answered, "I listen".  When asked what God says, she responded, "He listens".   I was talking with a person this week who asked me a question and said great and then started to add to it and I was cut right off.   They changed the topic as if they did not care about the answer.  I don’t know how you felt when that happens to you but I tend to shut down.   Many times the issues I have in life with others that God is speaking to me about how I am.  Many of us often treat God like that.  How would you like a relationship like that ladies?   It is kind of one sided. 

  Mother Theresa listens and God listens.   I wonder if that is like Romans 8 where the Holy Spirit prays with deep groaning.  All too often, Christians including me look at prayer only as presenting my requests before God.   By viewing prayer solely this way, I miss out on so much that prayer is.  Can prayer really be a conversation?  Many never experience this.  Often Christians just dump on God their concerns.  Those that do not listen miss a lot.    How ineffective is prayer because we have no idea what God wants to do.   If God laid on our hearts what He wanted we could pray with great confidence and power.   For those whose prayer life is on life support try listening.  It can be real and intimate.    You have heard the saying when all else fails read the directions.  When all else fails pray and connect with God. 

    This is an interesting story on the Wright Brothers.   In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were finally successful in getting their “flying machine” off the ground.  Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine:”We have actually flown 120 feet.    We will be home for Christmas.” Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, “How nice, the boys will be home for Christmas.” He totally missed the big news -- after thousands of years and hundreds of attempts -- man had achieved flight.  He was news man and he missed it. 

       An expert, who by virtue of his profession was undoubtedly skilled at writing and spotting news stories, missed one of the biggest ever!   Perhaps it was because he wasn’t expecting it.   After all, nothing significant was ever going to come from the family of Wright brothers or maybe this editor was concentrating on more pressing and more impressive stories, failing to see the obvious.  It happened in Herod’s day when Jesus came and still happens in ours.   So, what’s all the fuss that Jesus raised from the dead?   

    In Mark 13 Jesus told us to be alert because he is coming back.  Jesus said watch, watch, watch in this passage.   But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.    Be on guard! Be alert!   You do not know when that time will come.   It’s like a man going away:  He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep 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!’”   There is a watching and waiting and looking for the return of Jesus hence advent Christians. 

    In Mark 14 Jesus tells the disciples to sit here while Jesus prays and then he tells them stay here and keep watch?  The first time Jesus tells them to watch.  He says stay here and keep watch.  Jesus comes back and they are asleep and Jesus tells them could you not keep watch for 1 hour?  The disciples did not understand what was happening.  They did not feel the pain that Jesus was experiencing.  They were numb.  Spiritually they were not ready for what was going to happen.  Then Jesus tells them to watch and pray.  Why did Jesus tell them to watch?   Were the disciples to watch for the soldiers?   Were they to watch for the sun to come up?  Did you hear the story about the man who saw the sun set and he wondered where it went and stayed up in the night looking for the sun and wondering where it went and it finally dawned on him.  It was not to pray only but to watch and pray.    Jesus said watch and then he said pray.    We pray and forget watch.  Twice Jesus said to watch and then the 3rd time Jesus tells them to watch and pray. 

     Jesus tells them to watch and pray that you do not fall into temptation.  In the disciple’s prayer Jesus tells us to pray and lead us not into temptation.  There is a spiritual watching of our self and we make a big mistake when we do not do that.  The most important thing we do is watch our selves.  It is more important than ministry.  I would say it is just as important as watching your children.  Our walk with Jesus is number1.  I would say that all of us need to spend more time with God.  I believe that virtually all ministers would have a deeper and better ministry if we spent more time with God.  Do you want to bless the pastors you know keep pushing them to be a person of the bible and a person of prayer. 

   I Peter 5:8 in the King James says be sober be vigilant because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.  In the NIV Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  The word vigilant and sober means be watchful.  Strongs concordance uses the same Greek word.   Some of us know Randy DeTrude and he had an internet address door keeper.   He is a man who spiritually watches the door.  What is coming in or trying to come in that shouldn’t.  Randy is a watcher.  He is a spiritual watcher.  I think those that prophesy are watchers or can be watchers. Several in the Old Testament were watches.  I think Jesus was a watcher.  People are watching things today.  We can also be a watching spiritually. 

    In the book Secrets to powerful prayer they say the reason that Satan can steel kill and destroy in the church is because the church may pray but does not watch.  It is so important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to hear from God. Jesus said my sheep know my voice.  Are we watching and listening today?  He that has ears let him hear.   You can’t be spiritually awake and have a weak prayer life and if you are not watching and hearing from God how strong is your prayer life?  I do not want to discourage you but it is time for us to step it up to deeper prayer.   Jesus told the disciples twice to watch and then a third time watch and pray.  That is sound advice.  I would encourage you to watch over yourself more closely than anyone else.  Keep an eye on you and your walk with God.  Three times in the previous chapter and 3 times in this chapter Jesus said watch.