It’s Day Three of our 21 Day Watch. I’ve already noticed a few answers to prayer since we started keeping watch. I hope you have, too. Being watchful and alert helps us pray. Prayer is how we get to know God, enjoy His presence, and obey His instructions. The Bible teaches us that prayer is to be the focal point of our day. That we’re to pray “without ceasing.” That we’re to be vigilant and faithful and watchful in prayer.
In his short but power-packed little book How to Pray, nineteenth century author R. A. Torrey asks the question: “Why is this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer so needful?” His answer? “There is a devil.” Jesus knew this full well. He had been an eye-witness to the rebellion in heaven. He’d faced a power encounter in the desert with the Word of God as his only weapon to resist Satan’s temptations.
No wonder He talked about the importance of keeping watch. “Watch and pray that you don’t fall into temptation,” he warned His disciples. And be sure to “watch out for false teachers” who come at you in disguise, like “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” He knew firsthand the dangers we would face. He was also aware that the enemy of our soul would be always on the prowl.
It’s a dangerous world out there. And I’m not talking about ISIS. Daily, we face much more subtle battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil. So why are we surprised when life feels like war? We may not suffer the extreme level of persecution as our brothers and sisters living in oppressive nations. But we have the same devil. A pastor from a European church once remarked to a member of a secret house church in China that he was thankful he didn’t have persecution in his country. To which the surprised house church member replied, “You mean they don’t allow the devil into Great Britain?” You get the point.
So why pray? Why keep watch? Because there is a devil. And he is continually looking for ways to ensnare the child of God. The Bible challenges us over and over to be watchful.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV).
The victory is ours, promises the Bible. Satan is a defeated foe. Our job is to stay alert and remain connected to Jesus, being faithful in our study of God’s Word and prayer, being always watchful and obedient to the Holy Spirit. I especially like the way the Message Bible interprets this same passage:
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does (1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG).
Dear friends, God gets the last word. Yes He does!