Today the Holy Spirit is sweeping across the nations of the world as never before in history. More than 110,000 people are added to the Church of Jesus Christ daily. The outpouring is reaching near revival proportions on practically every continent on earth. And this is only the beginning!
We are standing at the edge of the greatest wave of spiritual blessing that has ever been experienced on the earth. The winds are beginning to blow and the flood tide is about to be released. That is why God is awakening his people to the urgent need of the hour – worldwide prayer and intercession. Only when we pray, will the Lord speak to us. Only when we intercede on behalf of our cities and nations will we see God move in power. Everywhere I go in the world I hear the same call of the Holy Spirit, ‘Watch and pray!’, and the nations are responding. Ministering in Africa, Asia and South America I have personally witnessed the spirit of prayer that is being poured out from the throne of God.
The same is becoming true of the European Church as we are learning to pray with diligence and fervency. As God’s day for the nations dawns the burning question on my heart is will he find us awake and ready or fast asleep and prayerless?
Satan is trying to lay a comfortable blanket over our churches, seeking to induce a spirit of slumber and complacency, because he knows how much danger his kingdom is in when God’s people become militant in prayer. We must not allow the enemy put us to sleep or we will miss what God is doing.
This is the hour of the Watchmen! Alert to his plans and purposes, they will actively bring about the will of God in the earth preparing the way for what he is about to do. Even if we have failed in the past he wants us to watch and pray now. He is raising us up as a mighty army, enabling and equipping us to be faithful in prayer and intercession.
Could you not watch with me one hour?
We read in Matthew 26:36-46 how Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch with him while he prayed in Gethsemane. I don’t believe we will ever fully understand what was going on in Jesus’ heart and mind at that time. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God incarnate, is in need. He is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (verse 38). We stress the divinity of Jesus Christ and rightly so, but we must never forget that he was and is also fully man. Under the shadow of the cross, Jesus feels the awesome weight of responsibility and the full spiritual implications of Calvary. Calling his closest associates together, he asks them to watch with him in this his darkest hour. But those whom he loved, nurtured and painstakingly instructed for three and a half years repeatedly let him down.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
In a certain way that encourages me because if those early apostles had difficulty watching and praying, it explains why I have the same problem. The single greatest difficulty I have in my Christian life is watching and praying on a daily basis. After 40 years I still struggle! It is so easy to be enthusiastic, especially when we are all together in large meetings, but when the alarm clock goes off at 3am for my hour of watch my flesh is very weak! The words of Jesus ring in my ears, ‘Could you not watch with me for one hour?’
There is always a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit when it comes to watching and praying. It doesn’t come naturally. We need to break through a spirit of prayerlessness into a new level of discipline and urgency by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A new quality in prayer
Everywhere I go in the world, I find the Holy Spirit is bringing a new quality in prayer. People are watching and praying and not just praying the same repetitive prayers again and again. There is a sense of urgency. We are learning to be wakeful and alert in the Spirit, listening to God as well as talking to him. It is only then that we see him bring about the changes he has ordained. Prayers prayed by real God-appointed Watchmen are accurate and powerful. The principle that prayer brings God’s changes is at the centre of Christianity. If we really believed this, we would do it more. It is time that we took up again the chief instruments and weapons that God has given us to bring about his changes in the earth. In a society that is basically founded upon unbelief, we need a praying people who believe that God supernaturally hears and answers prayer. We must become through prayer the real mover and shapers in our world. Jesus is calling you today, ‘Watch and pray!’
Jesus our Heavenly Intercessor
The hour of Jesus’ trial is finished. He is no longer in the garden of Gethsemane. Crucified, resurrected and exalted, he now lives – forever seated at the Father’s right hand. But what is he doing? Interceding! Right now Jesus Christ is interceding for you.
Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)
Jesus’ ministry of intercession by far exceeds anything else that he has yet done. Thirty years in obscurity, three and a half years in public ministry, and almost two thousand years of intercession – that’s the ministry of Jesus Christ! And he calls you to join him! To help you he has sent another Intercessor to live within you – the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit helps you make intercession according to the Father’s will, so that you can pray God’s will into the earth.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with Gods will. (Romans 8:26-27)
The Holy Spirit will help you pray the will of God into reality on the earth. That’s the meaning behind the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Our Father in heaven, may Your holy name be honoured, may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it’s done in heaven.’ Jesus’ hour of trial is over, but I sense that there is just as much urgency in his voice as he asks us to watch and pray with him today in this decisive hour in history. Will you stand up and watch with him, or will you fail him as his disciples did in Gethsemane?