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Watching with Perseverance and Supplication for all Saints –

Nehemiah 4knight-arthur-smith5Photo Courtesy of Arthur Smith illustrates a watchful, ready people that were prepared to meet their adversaries who desired to hinder the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.  Nehemiah’s preparations of arming the Israelites allowed the small remnant to continue their work while remaining guarded in cause of assault.  Their watchful preparation deflected their enemies’ advance—though armed and ready, there was no physical battle.

God knows the human limitations for being engaged in tough warfare.  In His mercy, He does provide us with times of rest.  Yet, in order to win the battle, it is just as important to persevere in watching for potential threats and abiding in Christ as it is to be armed and ready.

Watch is defined as looking and observe intently with expectation, to exercise caution, to be guarded, careful, and protective, follow closely, be alert and maintain an interest in.Once a soldier is all suited up, he is not constantly fighting in hand-to-hand combat.   

Perseverance is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”

Jesus Christ gives us instruction to be watchful and to pray while providing us the reasons:
  • “Watch and pray” for we know not when the earth will pass away and Christ will return again (Read Mk. 13:31-37). 
  • “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mk. 14:38). 
  • “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lu. 21:36).

The Apostle Paul urged the Christians at Ephesus to “watch and remember” his three years’ worth of warnings against false teachers who were “speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-31).  To the Corinthians, he exhorted, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Co. 16:13). 

The New Testament maintains in teaching believers:
  • “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).
  •  “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Th. 5:6).
  • “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4:5).
  • “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pe. 4:7).

In Revelations, Christ warns us to be “be watchful” and to “strengthen the things which remain”. “Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev. 3:2-3; Read Rev. 16:15).  

 Again, we find that we are instructed to pray with supplication—a begging, humble earnest request.  A second emphasis is placed on supplication in the Ephesians 6 text, yet this time with watchful, steadfast, enduring effort for the sake of all Christian brethren (not just ourselves). 

576px-Jean-François Millet II 001Art by Jean-François Millet IIPraying always - It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray - to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armor; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray…

With all prayer and supplication - With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying, prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armor, and by this we may hope to prevail.14