Not On My Watch!

knights-templar-prayingEvery young boy dreams of being a knight in shining armor protecting his castle—fighting off a vicious enemy’s onslaught coming to hurt and harm. Movies through the years have helped portray the stoic watchmen walking the wall and protecting their kingdom. Their keen and alert eyes are of utmost importance to those who live behind the walls trusting the watchman’s protection. A soldier must be loyal, alert and ready to lay down his life defending those who live in their community.

In the movie A Few Good Men, Demi Moore played a military attorney who defends two marines accused of killing a fellow soldier. After being asked, “Why do you love them so much?” she answers, “Because they stand on a wall and they say, ‘Nothing is going to happen to you. Not tonight; not on my watch.” That is how we should view the call of intercession. We stand on the wall and keep watch for the enemy’s attack, saying, “Nothing is going to happen to our families or the church on my watch.” We must stand on the wall of intercession for our generation.

God has placed different ones in key positions to stand watch with keen eyes of the Spirit. In Isaiah 62:6-7 the Word of the Lord says, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent”.

God has placed watchmen on the walls of His church, men and women to watch and cry out day and night. God has called them to knock on the door of Heaven continually. This word watchman refers to guarding and protecting as a hedge of thorns might keep the enemy away.

The Gospel of Mark says it like this, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is,” (Mk. 13:33-37). Every believer is called to be alert, standing on the walls of the church and guarding His kingdom.

Picture with me the Great Wall of China. Built thousands of years ago it has outlived warlords, dynasties and changing opinions. It spans over 5,000 miles and proceeds through mountains, grasslands and deserts. For centuries, it has kept out those who wanted to come against the kingdoms of ancient China. Today this magnificent monument stands as a great historical wonder but is empty of any significance. The kingdoms and territories that it once protected have long been defeated and plundered. All across Europe and even America there are incredible buildings, markers of great moves of God, now only empty religious relics. The body of Christ has built walls and stood watch over the many years of history, but at times the watchmen have been distracted, slack and weak. Isaiah 56:10 says, “His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; …Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”

Unfortunately, those who once were energetic and zealous have become spiritually blind and ignorant of the coming danger. So many believers have chosen to shut their eyes or stop up their ears. The prophet Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen,’” (Jer. 6:17). The watchman has the weight of responsibility on his shoulders to warn the people. Whether through an act of ignorance or rebellion, we will be found guilty if we do not warn God’s people of the danger at hand. It’s time to get back on the wall!

 

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Knowing God’s Heart

Let’s revisit one of the most encouraging stories in the scriptures I believe—Matthew15: 22-28, the Canaanite woman, who would not settle for anything but a miracle for her daughter. This courageous mother was willing to press in to Jesus no matter what the consequences. Mark 7:25 states that she “Heard about Him.” She must have heard of the wonders and miracles that followed Jesus. It was this deep understanding and undeniable confidence that drove her to humble herself and not take offense. This mother would not give up for she knew Jesus was the answer for her afflicted daughter. I believe she was persistent and unrelenting because she got a glimpse of His heart and knew He was merciful and loving. The end result of this sometimes-misinterpreted story declares His heart is truly to heal and set the captives free.

History has documented mothers, which have done extraordinary things for their children. But, how many mothers today have caught a glimpse of His heart to the point that they are just as willing and persistent for their children’s healing? Our families would be eternally changed if we all caught a revelation of who He is and what is in His heart.

Mary who was sitting at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42) listening to His words wasn’t there asking for her lists of wants, but was intent on knowing what was in His heart. So often, we spend our precious prayer time focused on what is burning in our hearts. Then we get busy doing things for Him and never just listen to His words. I believe God has so much He wants to share with us and He wants us to partner with Him in His purposes. In John 13:23 I love where it says, “there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” I can imagine John with his head on Jesus’ chest wanting to understand the secrets of His heart. To me this is such a good picture of the kind of deep spiritual intimacy that we should have with Jesus. I believe as we commune with Him in prayer that He invites us through His great love to lay our head on His chest, and hear His heartbeat and learn of His will. That is the greatest honor and privilege that we will ever attain to—knowing what is on the heart of our Creator and King.

Paul himself reveals this same desire as he writes to the Philippians saying, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” (Phil. 3:10). He didn’t want the shallow acquaintance and unhealthy religion that he was raised with. He desired a understanding of what was on God’s heart. In other words, Paul wanted to know everything about Him, whether in His suffering, His death and definitely in His powerful resurrection.

Do we have that same hunger to know Him? Or, are we so caught up in our life goals and religious duty that we aren’t really concerned about His heart. The scriptures clearly reveal God’s desire to be among us. Communing with His children has always been at the center of His heart. The Holy Spirit woos us to seek after Him and pursue knowing Him as He knows us. Only then will we be as the young gentile mother and never be discouraged or offended at Him.

I Can’t Pray Because My Knees Hurt

AR0162-002In the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains the old deserted logging roads made great walking trails above our ranch. Growing up I remember how my mother loved to take her walks in the brisk mountain air. There were times that my siblings and I would be having fun and run up the trail to catch my mother only to find her deep in prayer. After several times of interrupting her we soon realized that this was her private time of praying. She loved to walk and talk with the Lord.

The Bible reveals many different postures of prayer; some people prayed sitting, some standing, some kneeling as well as lying prostrate before the Lord. Paul encouraged Timothy to pray with hands lifted up (1 Tim. 2:8). Others stand or sit in circles holding hands. Still some people think if you’re not kneeling then you’re not really praying. I don’t believe there is any one posture that we must use to pray, on the contrary, there are many ways. Whatever position seems to help you keep focused in your prayer life is the right way. My mother’s posture of prayer was her walks.


If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer.   (Tweet)


After my friend gave his life to the Lord in high school, he became aware that one of the basic principles of growing in Christ was learning to pray. With the best of intentions, he got up before school and tried to pray, but would fall back asleep consistently. One day he had a genius idea. He would stand on the open toilet and pray, knowing that would give him the incentive to keep awake and pray. Well, we might not have to go to that extreme, but whatever gets us to the place of prayer and keeps our eyes on the Lord, that’s the posture we need to take.

Prayer is like evaporated water that comes from the ocean. As we continue to pray it builds up in the clouds then the clouds move with the wind of God’s will and pour down their abundance of rain. Some say the bowls of intercession that we read about in Revelation 5:8 become full and overflow upon the earth. In other words, prayer produces fruit!. If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer. But we must find a posture of prayer that enables us to fill the bowls in heaven with our intercession.

In response to the disciples question “teach us to pray”, Jesus says, “When you pray, say:” (Luke 11:2).  Jesus’ statement is not telling them a time or position of prayer, but rather indicates that prayer is an ordinary and normal function of a believer’s life. Jesus could have told them His favorite posture of prayer but He specifically didn’t, knowing it would cause His followers to make a religious ritual out of one set posture. Rather, He just conveys that we need to pray. Jesus’ only mention of a posture of prayer was moments earlier when He was referring to the way the Pharisees were standing on the street corner to be seen by man. Indicating that our heart must be right not our posture.

My sister loves to pray as she runs the trail along the rim of the Snake River canyon. But the point is not where or how we should pray, kneeling, sitting or lying down, but that our posture is conducive for us to pray.

I Want It Now!

200157668-001A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life.

Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…”

                        A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything,                                   brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit.    (tweet)

            When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer.

I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong.

                    Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving,                          unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way     (Tweet)

            Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer.

            Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.