“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” ~ Jesus
I love this passage of scripture! Jesus himself tells us in Luke 21 that when we see the signs of the swift coming of the Son of Man (Jesus’ Messianic title) we are to do several things.
- Be on watch. What does this mean? To be on watch does not mean just to look at something. In the Greek it means “no sleeping”, to be vigilant, alert and attentive without any unnecessary time off. Spiritually speaking, to “not sleep” refers to being spiritually awake instead of physically awake. It means to not fall asleep spiritually. The deceptions, distractions and distortions of this world can lull us to sleep. In the garden of Gesthemane, Jesus was preparing for the most difficult time of his life. Instead of sleeping, he stayed up through the night crying out to his Father in heaven, as he sweat drops of blood. He asked his friends to stay up with him. Instead of keeping watch, they fell asleep because they were so upset. In Matthew 26:40-41 we can read the account:
“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.””
In times of great distress and emotion- much like the one we are in now in 2020- the flesh is very weak from all the grief of loss, trauma and fear. There are fears about what is to come and fears of the unknown. There is anxiety from the social unrest, conflict, division, racism, and hatred of all kinds. Jesus tells the disciples that their flesh is causing them to fall asleep and not do what is best for them to do- to pray that they will not fall during this time of testing.
There is one thing the disciples did not have at Gesthemane that we have. They did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. They didn’t have access to the power of God in their inner beings to strengthen their “inner man” for the arduous time they were walking in. Those who believe in Jesus have access to the store houses of the Spirit of God, since we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14.) We can pray that God will build us up in our inner beings that Jesus will dwell in our hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17 ” I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
Yet, still, most of us walk more in the flesh than in the Spirit of God. What is Jesus’ antidote to spiritual sleepiness and falling into temptation? To pray.
What else did he teach us to pray when we see these things approaching?
- Pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
This is an exciting prayer! This is NOT teaching that Christians will be trouble-free or without trials or difficulty. Jesus is instructing the disciples in the way to pray for protection and spiritual strength concerning the end of days. This does not mean that the rapture will take the American church away before they will experience hardships of any kind. All over the world and all through history the church has suffered for Christ. Why would the church in America – the worldliest group of believers in all of history- be exempt from suffering and trials? They are not exempt. This is saying that we can pray for protection and we need to rely on God 100% for our protection. The word in the Greek for escape means to prevail and to overcome. We need to pray for strength to be overcomers. You can read what Jesus teaches the 7 churches in Revelation on overcoming in darkness. (For further study, read Revelation 1-2 and take note of what Jesus says in necessary to overcome.)
The second part of this verse is critical to understanding the beginning. “That you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” means just what it looks like it means. When we overcome through prayer, fasting and faith, we are representing Christ in this world. No matter how dark it gets, we can overcome with the light of Jesus. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
In the preceding verse, Jesus says, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.” He is talking about dark times all over the earth. If we have lived our Christian life on the razor’s edge, living for our flesh and the indulgences of this life, we will be caught in a trap when all of our idols fall. Christians who are careful to be prayerful and worshipful will not be caught in a trap. They will be in fellowship with the Lord and ready to face whatever comes in faith and in power.
Spiritually speaking, we also are in the garden of Gesthemane. Jesus is getting ready to come back for his bride. It says in Revelation 12:27 “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” We are in a time of spiritual battle. There is much suffering. Jesus said we would suffer for him. It is an honor to suffer for our Lord and savior. But, let us not be like the disciples who were asleep in the garden. Let us be awake, ready, and willing to fast and pray that we will not fall into temptation and that we can stand before the Son of Man when he returns.
Prayer time (If you spend 2 minutes on each of these points, you will be praying for 30 minutes.)
- Worship the Lord. Turn on your favorite music and spend time singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.
- Acknowledge God for who he is- he is in heaven, he is holy, he is powerful, he is mighty, he is all-knowing, he is with us, he is in us, he is creator of the universe, he loves us, there is no one like him.
- Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Expose the corruption in our government, Oh Lord. Throw down Satan’s strongholds here on earth and establish your kingdom in the hearts of men and women. Bring more people into your kingdom, Lord God. (Pray for God’s kingdom to be established in your life, your family, your church, your community, your state, your nation and your world. Name people by name.)
- Pray to forgive those who have offended and hurt you. Ask the Lord to bring anyone to mind you may have offended and ask him to help you make it right.
- Confess your sins to God. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal them to you and to speak to your heart. Psalm 4:4-5 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. Ask the Lord to forgive you for unknown sin. Psalm 19:12-14 “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
- Pray for daily provisions- “Give us this day our daily bread. Lord, take away my anxiety. Help me to know you will provide for all of my needs according to your riches in glory.” Make your personal requests known to the Lord. He already knows your need. In James 4:2b “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
- Lead me not into temptation– list the things that tempt you. Ask God to deliver you.
- Deliver me from the evil one. This is your time of spiritual warfare. Jesus says in Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the powers of the enemy, nothing will harm you.” Spiritual warfare prayer- “I stand against lies and darkness that come against me in Jesus’ name. No weapon formed against me shall prosper, in Jesus’ name. I acknowledge the power of Jesus and I praise you that I am seated with him in heavenly realms above all rule and power and authority. I know that in Christ and his resurrection power I am victorious. So, I stand in the armor of Jesus right now. I put on the helmet of salvation. I praise you for my salvation, in Jesus’ name. I thank you for your protection and that you protect my head, my life, my authority through Christ. I rejoice that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I stand firm in the truth of Christ. I buckle your belt of truth about my waist. I pray that your truth will secure my life. Defend me against the lies of Satan, in Jesus’ name. I know that I am vulnerable apart from you, Lord. I ask in Jesus’ name that you will reveal to me any lies that I am believing and allow me to walk in your truth. Today, I thank you for the righteousness that is imputed to me in Christ Jesus. I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in that righteousness. I pray that the righteousness of Christ and the power of God to live a life of holiness will protect my heart. I put on that breastplate of righteousness. Teach me to submit to and obey your truth in the grace that God provides me, oh Lord, in Jesus’ power and holy name. I also pray, in Jesus’ name, that you will ready my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Everywhere I go, oh Lord, may I be ready to bring your message of good news. Do not let me lose my footing in this area. May my feet truly be the beautiful feet that bring good news to those who are lost and need to find their way. Use me, oh Lord, to bring your salvation to the lives of those who are not in your family. Bring people into my life, in special moments, who need you. Ordain for me opportunities to minister the gospel of Jesus to them. Father, fill me with faith, in Jesus’ name. I pray that your Spirit will ignite faith in me that I can fight against the devil and be protected from his diversions and lies. I take up your shield of faith, Father. Hide me in the shadow of your wing, oh Lord. Build up my inner spirit in faith. Minister faith to me and help my unbelief, in Jesus’ name! Also, I take up your Holy Word, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I ask that daily I will be filled with your Word. I ask that the truth of your Word will work like a mighty weapon in my hands. Teach me to fight the enemy with your Word, oh Lord. Develop in me the spiritual gifts and abilities you want me to use in this battle, in Jesus’ name!”
- Confess who you are in Christ out loud:
- Through the blood of Jesus, I am delivered from the hand of Satan!
- Through the blood of Jesus, I am cleansed from all my sin!
- Through the blood of Jesus, I am protected from the destroyer!
- Through the blood of Jesus, I am made righteous before God, and declared not guilty of my sin!
- Through the blood of Jesus, I am whole, delivered, saved and redeemed.
- Through the blood of Jesus, I have a place in the family of God.
- Through the blood of Jesus, I triumph over the devil!
- Thank you, Lord, that the blood of Jesus speaks a better word for me than the blood of Abel.
- Thank you, Lord, that through the blood, I am being sanctified, made holy and brought near to you!
10. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit and power according to Ephesians 5:18 “Fill me with your Holy Spirit and power, Oh Lord. Give me your wisdom and revelation through the Holy Spirit, so I can know you better. Fill me with the knowledge of your will with all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit brings that I may live a life worthy of you.
11. Wait on the Lord. Ask him to speak to you. Sit silently praying in the Spirit, meditating on a Psalm or another scripture. Ask the Lord to reveal himself to you.
12. Pray for the persecuted church.
13. Pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. “Lord, strengthen me in my inner being with your glorious storehouse of power so that I can overcome in your name. I pray the way you taught your disciples- that I may escape all that is about to happen and that I may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
14. Pray for mercy on our nation, that when God judges the nation that he will have mercy and that he will relent. Pray that hearts will be softened. Pray that the devil’s plans will be frustrated, confused and stopped. Pray that in the middle of the trials that the power of God will be poured out according to the prophecy in Joel 2. “Reveal your power in your people, Oh Lord! Show the sinners your ways and your hope in Christ. Draw many to you. Many are in great need.” Pray for the schools. Pray for the family units in the nation to be strengthened during this time. Pray for the Lord to unite believers, even as the enemy tries to divide them.
15. Pray for the sick, the orphan, the widow, the weak and the homeless. Ask the Lord if there is anyway you can minister to someone in need today. “Lord direct my paths that I may be an instrument of righteousness. Bring healing to bodies, minds, souls and spirits, in Jesus’ name. Pour out your Spirit for healing, Oh Lord.”
In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen!
For more information on details of how to fast- please click this link for Day 1 of our 40 day fast.