There are dangers occurring daily around the world—wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, homicides, sexual immorality, divisiveness and much more. Today, God is restoring the prayer mantle upon the church to prepare us for the challenges we will face in the end times and to enable us to be ready when Christ returns. I have traveled to many countries preaching the Word of God and seeing the condition of the church, and my conclusion is that the body of Christ is not prepared for His Second Coming. The church must complete a cycle initiated the moment it was established by Jesus—one that will continue until the day He returns for His bride. That cycle started with "watching and praying" (see, for example, Mark 13:33), and it will close with watching and praying.
What Does It Mean to Watch and Pray?
The word "watch" implies being spiritually awake. It indicates paying close attention, being very cautious, being prepared and alert. It means to discern, perceive and be in the Spirit. To be able to see in the spiritual realm is a gift of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This ability is very important in prayer, especially in the end times.
Watching is the complement of praying because each is a condition of the other. It is not possible to really pray without being alert, and it is not possible to watch without the support of prayer. When we watch, nothing takes us by surprise, because our spiritual senses are vigilant. If we stay tuned to heaven, we will always know how to pray and how to act.
Jesus didn't say "pray and watch," but "watch and pray," in that order, because if we watch, we will be in a good position to pray effectively and powerfully. To watch and pray is to declare the mind of God. As you pray, you start seeing more in the spiritual realm and, in consequence, you continue declaring and decreeing according to what you see.
Our assignment during prayer is to be a watchman for our family, our church and the things of God. If Satan and his demons are planning to attack you, but they see that you are vigilant and aware of their plot, they will not be able to carry out their invasion; or you will perceive when they are trying to invade, and you will be able to stop them or activate the alarms. One way or another, the enemy will realize that access is blocked, and he will have to flee. But if you are like the disciples whom Jesus took to Gethsemane to watch with Him—who, instead of praying, fell asleep—you will leave the access open and won't offer any resistance to the enemy.
The enemy seeks to invade the territories of our health, marriage, children, finances and vocation, but we don't realize it because we aren't watching. The church doesn't perceive satanic attacks against it because it is asleep. Essentially, most of the church doesn't really believe in the second coming of the Lord. How do we know this? Because the believers are not watching or praying; therefore, they are not anticipating His return. If they believed in His coming, they would be watching and praying without ceasing, as the Scripture tells us to do.
Thanks to God, there is a remnant of believers who are watching and praying, who always live in expectation of His return. If you are asleep, you cannot stay that way! You must be ready for His return and prepared to go with Him.
Strategies for Watching and Praying
- Continually pray in the Spirit
As Christians, it's important that we know how to strengthen our spirit in the faith: "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 1:20). Of course, you cannot build up your spirit if it is asleep. It must first awaken and get up! If you pray in the Spirit, you will be able to see in the spiritual realm, but if you neglect to do this, your vision will be limited. Whenever I pray in the Spirit, I am alert to what God is telling me and what He is doing; that way, I can align myself with His plans for the now. As children of God, we must be in tune with the momentum the Holy Spirit is bringing, because it is the momentum of the now.
- Constantly Be Filled with the Spirit
Will Jesus come for a bride who is not anointed? Of course not. Jesus commanded the church to live in a state of fullness in the Spirit. The Spirit cannot work in us unless we maintain a certain level of prayer. In these days, we must live continually filled with the Holy Spirit, having our lamps full of oil for the vigil.
Be constantly filled with God's Spirit and prepare to receive the King of kings as a member of that pure bride, without spot or wrinkle, who watches for the return of her groom, Jesus Christ. He promised it—and He will fulfill it. Watch and pray! Christ is coming soon!
Edited excerpts from Breakthrough Prayer, © 2018 by Guillermo Maldonado, published by Whitaker House. Used with permission.
Active in ministry for over 20 years, apostle Guillermo Maldonado is the founder of King Jesus International Ministry—one of the fastest-growing multicultural churches in the United States—which has been recognized for its visible manifestations of God´s supernatural power. He is a spiritual father to 338 churches in 50 countries, which form the Network of the Supernatural Movement (formerly called the New Wine Apostolic Network). He is also the founder of the University of the Supernatural Ministry (USM). Apostle Maldonado has a doctorate in Christian counseling and a master's degree in practical theology. He resides in Miami, Florida, with his wife and partner in ministry, Ana, and their two sons, Bryan and Ronald. Visit breakthroughprayerbook.com.
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