Jesus’s ministry on earth was almost at an end; He knew He didn’t have much time left and that He would be betrayed, because the Father had revealed it to Him in prayer. He took three of His disciples—Peter, James, and John—and asked them to watch with Him while He prayed. Instead, they fell asleep, and Jesus said, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40–41).
The command Jesus gave to His disciples to “watch and pray” (similar to His earlier commands in Mark 13:33 and Luke 21:36 about watching and praying for His return) was the same directive that, many years later, the apostles Paul and Peter gave to the early church. (See Ephesians 6:18; 1 Peter 4:7.) It is also the command that Christ’s disciples today must follow.
Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray so they wouldn’t be tempted to move outside the Father’s will. The word “watch” implies being spiritually awake. It indicates paying close attention, being very cautious, being ready, prepared, and alert. It means to discern, perceive, and be in the Spirit. To be able to see in the spiritual realm is a gift of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This ability is very important in prayer, especially in the end times.
Watching is the complement of praying because each is a condition of the other. It is not possible to really pray without being alert, and it is not possible to watch without the support of prayer. When we watch, nothing takes us by surprise, because our spiritual senses are vigilant. We are like a radio whose dial is set in the correct position to receive the signal transmitted from a broadcast station. If we stay tuned to heaven, we will always know how to pray and how to act.
When we watch, we are also like sentries posted in high towers, where they have a commanding view of their surroundings, enabling them to spot the approach of enemy invaders so their city can defend itself in time. Spiritually, we need to be in that kind of constant alertness and readiness. In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk understood the purpose of the “prayer tower,” which is why he said, “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me” (Habakkuk 2:1).
The only time the devil can come close to our life is when he sees we are unprotected because we are not watching. When we are vigilant, he discreetly moves back. As we watch and pray, God will show us how to face or flee any temptation, and how to solve every problem.
Watching also implies anticipating or expecting. Once more, let us note the importance of being expectant when we pray. It might actually happen that the Lord answers your prayer but you don’t see His answer because, when you lost your expectation, you stopped watching for its manifestation. This is why we need to be able to perceive and see in the Spirit. The more you watch, the more spiritually sensitive you will become, and the more conscious you will be of what is happening around you in the spiritual realm. Your spiritual sight will become clear.
Jesus didn’t say “pray and watch,” but “watch and pray,” in that order, because if we watch, we will be in a good position to pray effectively and powerfully. Moreover, our prayers will cease to be monotonous, composed of empty words that come from our minds but don’t proceed from our hearts or carry the revelation of the Spirit. Why do some people feel that prayer is boring? Because their prayers are full of “vain repetitions,” without enthusiasm or expectation. Vain repetitions are “filler prayers” consisting of phrases that are easy to say and keep us in our comfort zone. You urgently need to get out of that zone and start praying what you see spiritually.
You may be asking yourself, Well, how do I watch and pray? Below are some guidelines to help you put into practice what you have learned up to this point.
As Christians, it’s important that we know how to strengthen our spirit in the faith, as the Bible teaches us to do in Jude 1:20: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” Of course, you cannot build up your spirit if it is asleep! It must first awaken and get up! If you pray in the Spirit, you will be able to see in the spiritual realm, but if you neglect to do this, your vision will be limited. Every time I pray in the Spirit, I am alert to what God is telling me and to what He is doing; that way, I can align myself with His plans for the now. As children of God, we must be in tune with the momentum the Holy Spirit is bringing, because it is the momentum of the now.
Our spirit needs to be filled with the Spirit of God. The person who is not filled with the Holy Spirit lives in a limited dimension. The Spirit cannot work in us unless we maintain a certain level of prayer. In these days, we must live continually filled with the Holy Spirit, having our lamps full of oil for the vigil. (See Matthew 25:1–13.)
Jesus is calling you—just as He did His disciples—to watch and pray with Him, without ceasing. I encourage you to answer that call and start giving priority to your relationship with God in prayer, being in expectation of what He wants to show you in spiritual intimacy. Look ahead in the Spirit to what is coming for your family, for your ministry, for your city, and for the world. Be sensitive to the presence of God, to His will, and to the needs of other people; additionally, be alert to what the devil is plotting to do or is already doing. You can anticipate and defeat the enemy!
Throughout this devotional, we have discussed how to pray in order to obtain breakthroughs. Now, do it yourself! Be constantly filled with the Spirit of God and prepare to receive the King of Kings as a member of that pure bride, without spot or wrinkle, who watches for the return of her Groom, Jesus Christ. He promised it—and He will fulfill it! Watch and pray! Christ is coming soon!
Thought: If we are not watching and praying, we are not ready for Jesus’s return.
We hope this plan has encouraged you. Explore other resources at https://www.whitakerhouse.com/book-authors/guillermo-maldonado/.