The belief that germs caused disease was considered “ridiculous fiction” by many scientists in the late 1800’s. Louis Pasteur and others finally convinced the medical world that many diseases were caused by microorganisms, too small to see, which invaded the body. That understanding of the link between germs and disease led to a simple, but life-saving practice. Doctors began washing their hands to avoid spreading germs from patient to patient. Disease dramatically dropped.
I wonder if keeping watch, along with our practice of daily prayer and Bible reading, is somewhat like washing our hands. It protects us from spiritual enemies we can’t see with our natural eyes. It’s daily. It’s a discipline. It’s usually not dramatic. We can’t even see the germs we’re guarding against. Yet, remaining watchful and alert may protect us from unseen spiritual invaders.
As we roll into Day Sixteen of our 21 Day Watch, I’d like to think that our increased alertness has made us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and warnings. That we’ve been protected from enemies we may never see.
God doesn’t usually let us see into the invisible world. That suits me just fine. I have a feeling if we could see the evil forces still crawling the earth, we’d be terrified. But He does show us how to guard ourselves against what the Bible refers to as the “powers and principalities of the air.” He reminds us: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
A dear friend of mine is head of a powerful ministry in Africa. One day, I was prompted to pray for my friend. His life is often on the line as he takes the gospel into dangerous places. I mentioned to him a couple of days later that I had prayed for him on a specific day. “That’s intriguing,” he replied. “Because the day after you prayed, the building where our headquarters is located was broken into at 3am in the morning. Every business in that building had their offices ransacked and lost all their equipment. But for some reason, our headquarters wasn’t even touched.” Then he smiled, “Now that’s what I call preventive prayer!”
Preventive prayer. I like that term. What if our prayers, no matter how seemingly insignificant, may be guarding against evil invasions or protecting someone we love? What if our watchfulness makes us more alert to hear God’s whispers and sensitive to His nudges to pray? Friends, there’s no such thing as a small prayer.
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12)