Did you know that the most crucial warning in the Bible is to watch and pray? Interestingly, it is one of the most emphasized commands in the Scripture, which Jesus Himself gave to the church.
This is to ensure we are circumspect, attentive, and cautious, so we don’t fall into temptation. Jesus also said this so we can be ready for His return, which will take many by surprise.
If you are asking, “What does the Bible mean when it tells us to watch and pray?,” keep reading, and you will find out.
This article considers the following:
- What does it mean to watch and pray?
- What does the Bible say about watch and pray?
- Why do we watch and pray?
- 35 benefits of watching and praying.
- How do we watch and pray?
What Does it Mean to Watch and Pray?
First, to watch means to stay awake, to be attentive, ready, and cautious. To “watch and pray,” on the other hand, is to have the alertness of a night guard.
A night guard or watchman must be vigilant and able to detect danger far more than a daytime guard. This is because there may not be any indications of an enemy attack until it happens.
So, he must be super alert and hyper-vigilant, expecting and suspecting danger at any moment. That is the type of watchfulness Jesus spoke about in Mark 14:38, where He said – Watch and pray.
Jesus said these words to His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane when sleep overcame them. Their need to sleep overpowered their desire to obey Jesus. He was grieved when He found them sleeping instead of praying.
He knew that if they did not remain spiritually vigilant, in tune with Him, and ready to deny their flesh, the devil would overcome them (John 15:5, 1 Peter 5:8). Hence, He warned them to watch and pray.
Also Related: 35 Helpful Benefits of Praying in the Spirit.
Why Do We Watch and Pray?
As Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray so that they do not fall into temptation, His command extends to all believers.
This is because He knows we are easily distracted by many things in this world. Hence, the devil can lay hold of our flesh and its desires to sift us like He almost did Peter if Jesus had not prayed for him.
That said, we watch and pray, so we do not take our eyes off Jesus and His return. It is undeniably true that our values, even as Christians begin to shift when we are not watching and praying as Christ commands us.
We must watch and pray because this is the only way we can stay faithful to the end. Any Christian who is watching but not praying or praying and not watching will most likely fall into multiple temptations and be diverted from the part of righteousness and ultimately miss God’s kingdom.
Many Scriptures further prove why we must watch and always pray as Christians.
Bible Verses about Watch and Pray:
- Luke 21:36. ESV
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
- Matthew 26:41. ESV
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.
- 1 Peter 5:8. ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Ephesians 6:18. ESV
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
- Revelation 16:15. ESV
Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!
- Matthew 24:42. ESV
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
- Revelation 3:3. ESV
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
- Mark 13:37. ESV
And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.
- Matthew 25:13. ESV
Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
- Mark 13:3 ESV
Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.
- Mark 13:32. ESV
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
35 Benefits of Watching and Praying.
If you are asking, “What is the significance of watching and praying?” Or why do we need to watch and pray?
In this section of this article, I will provide you with 35 benefits of watching and praying so you would begin to adhere to this holy ordinance.
Watching and praying:
- Help us overcome the many temptations the devil brings our way daily.
- Assist us in living holy and righteous lives.
- Strengthen us to face life’s challenges and trials.
- Make us reliant on God to grant us victory in our day-to-day lives.
- Help us come to God with a clear and pure mind.
- Help us maintain a constant connection with God.
- Imbue us with the grace to overcome sin daily.
- Keep us from being easily distracted by things that do not edify or add value to our lives.
- Help us focus on God and His Son’s imminent sudden return.
- Allow us to remain faithful and devoted in prayer.
- Assist us in living with eager expectations of the Lord’s return.
- Keep our lives pure and our hearts ready to meet Jesus.
- Help us bear fruits spiritually – bringing people into God’s kingdom.
- Keep our minds very focused on God.
- Give us the confidence that God would count us faithful and worthy of rapture.
- Will cause us to escape the terrible things coming to the earth after the rapture of the saints.
- Will justify us to stand before the Son of Man when He comes.
- Help us conform to the image of Jesus. (Philippians 3:21, Romans 8:29).
- Make our work and walk before God perfect.
- Constantly remind us to repent when we fall and hold fast to the very end.
- Make us grow from imperfection to perfection.
- Make us diligent in obedience and careful about anything that will pull us down spiritually.
- Produce the fruit of repentance in us each time we falter.
- Remind us that the wages of sin is death, thereby producing a godly fear in us at all times.
- Assist us in guarding ourselves against the enemy’s attack.
- Make us strong against the enemy instead of vulnerable and defenseless.
- Make us able to discern trends that may relate to prophetic events so that Christ’s coming does not take us by surprise.
- Fill us with power to withstand the enemy’s wiles and ploys.
- Make us sensitive about our spiritual condition or state of readiness.
- Fill us with the fruit of the Spirit that helps us manifest God’s character in our daily lives and activities.
- Assist us in living out every jot of God’s word as a habitual way of life.
- Make us efficient and resourceful in maximizing our time.
- Help us serve God better and better with each passing day.
- Increase our faith to the point where we can withstand trials and persecutions.
- Guarantee us a place in God’s kingdom as long as we are walking in accordance with God’s precepts.
How Do We Watch and Pray?
It is expedient to know how to get yourself acquainted with watching and praying, faithfully awaiting the return of Christ, which the Bible tells us will be unexpected; likened to a thief’s coming in the night.
The following are nine practical ways you can watch and pray as a believer:
1. Have a Relationship with God.
Having an intimate relationship with God is the first step toward getting into the habit of watching and praying.
Anyone who has not genuinely repented of their sins and has working with God cannot watch and pray.
2. Be Consistent in the Study of God’s Word.
One of the most crucial spiritual disciplines we cannot do without as Christians is the study of God’s word.
You must take this a step further by making it a daily thing, digging deep into God’s word, and not just reading through the word of God like you would an ordinary book.
The more God’s word you study, the more you know Him, and the better you are watch and pray.
3. Pray Regularly and in the Spirit.
Scripture commands us to pray without ceasing and to pray in the spirit. These are two very crucial ways to really watch and pray as Christians.
First, because prayer keeps us in close communication with God, and secondly, because by praying in the spirit, the Holy Spirit also prays with us.
Romans 8:27. ESV – And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The result of this is that He will always make known deep and hidden things to us, including the enemy’s plans against us.
4. Develop a Deeper Relationship with Him Everyday.
In addition to having a relationship, you must go deeper and more intimate with God.
As a student progresses at the completion of each level/study year, your relationship with God should also grow into something more solid and deeper with each passing day.
If you are effectively watching and praying, you will enjoy a more intimate relationship with God with each passing day.
5. Have Constant Fellowship with Members of God’s Family.
Hebrews 10:25. ESV says – Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Scripture commands us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
This means identifying with a local church and having fellowship with the brethren in the household of faith.
The Bible says iron sharpens iron, so to effectively watch and pray, it is necessary you attend church services regularly, where our spiritual lives will experience lifting, and we mature in the faith in the long run.
6. Observing Periodic Fasts.
Fasting helps us humble ourselves before God and enables the Holy Spirit to reveal our actual spiritual state, resulting in brokenness, genuine repentance, and, ultimately, a transformed life. When combined with prayer, fasting helps our spirit to be more in tune with God.
So, observe periodic fast; you could make it once a week, twice a month, etc. The important thing is that you are maturing spiritually and watching in the process.
7. Follow Peace with All Men.
Hebrews 12:14 says – Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. God’s word is clear on how we should live in this world.
Hence, it admonishes us to maintain peaceful relationships with everyone regardless of who they are. Being at peace with everyone around you is one way to watch and pray.
Matthew 5:9 says – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. In other words, if you have trouble maintaining peace with people, you are not really watching.
8. Be Charitable.
Matthew 25:34-40 ESV says – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35: For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, 36: I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.
37: Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38: And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39: And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40: And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
Some Christians will miss out on the last day because they failed to extend love and mercy to others, especially the poor. Loving like Christ loves us and extending grace to others are practical ways we express His love. So, be charitable in words and deeds.
The above benefits of watching and praying prove that when we live with the eager expectation of Christ’s return, we are more likely to keep our hearts ready to meet Him.
However, we can only do this if we watch and pray. So, I urge you to watch and pray because His coming will take many unaware; God forbid you be one of such people, especially not after gaining this valuable knowledge.