“Watch and Pray”: Spiritual Fitness for the Midnight Hour
We are living in the most challenging days that the Body of Messiah has ever been through. These are dangerous and perilous times for all believers. The undertow of the Babylonian antiMessiah spirit is rising up as never before. The world is growing darker and darker, and the church is asleep, bound and lukewarm as a whole. Yeshua warned us over and over in the gospels to take heed that we are not overtaken by deception, fear, distractions, lusts of the flesh, and spiritual slumber as the end of the age of grace draws ever nearer, as it is written:
“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end shall be saved…And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened…Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come….therefore by ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:4b-5,11-13,22,42,44)
“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is…Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” (Mark 13:33,36)
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken…And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:26,34,36)
The Lord spoke to me and said:
“I am the Lord of the harvest. Overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil is not an option. Bearing fruit is a command, not a suggestion. You must abide in Me and love Me more than anything else. There can be no substitute for the oil of true worship. It is the only oil that will keep your lamps lit. Many lamps are going out. Come and buy of Me this oil before it is too late – by watching and praying daily so that so that you may be ready and full of light. I am bringing the church down to My threshing floor and beating the wheat of My final harvest. I am separating the wheat from the chaff. I am gathering the wheat into My barn and the bundles of fruitless branches together to be burned in the everlasting fire. Warn the lukewarm church to watch and pray, or they too will fall in this final midnight hour! Teach them how to be spiritually fit, so they can stand and overcome. It is My will that none perish, but all come into the joy of My wedding supper. All are invited, but most will not be ready. They will be left behind to suffer in the wrath to come. Without holiness, no one will see My Kingdom or taste of My wedding supper. I am at the doors ready to call My Bride home. Who is awake and will heed the voice of My Spirit?”
So we MUST watch and pray. Prayerlessness is the greatest sin of the Laodicean church of our generation. The reason we have so little power and we live in defeat is simply because we have let idols come in the place of God. There is one thing that is most precious that God has given you: and that is time. Time… How do you spend your time each day? Are you investing it in eternal things or in temporary things?
The word “watch” that Yeshua is using is a military type of word: it means that we must stand guard against sudden and perilous attacks of the enemy like an armed guard would protect the crown jewels of an earthly kingdom. The word “pray” incorporates within it an endurance; a tenacity; a persistence. Just like a bulldog will never let go of his bone even to death, we must “hold on” to what the Lord has given and promised us and never give it up.
Yeshua admonishes us as overcoming believers in Revelation 3:11:
“Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
Sir Winston Churchill once said in his famous speech in October 29, 1941:
“Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
So, that gives you a good idea what Yeshua is talking about spiritually when he says to tenaciously watch and pray. We are in a world at war spiritually. Good shall triumph over evil, but it won’t happen without winning each day in the realms of enduring prayer and intercession over the powers of darkness arrayed against us.
Here is what is necessary to be spiritually fit and overcome. I beg you to make changes in your life priorities and the use of your time so that you too can develop these spiritual disciplines and have the strength to make it and to “never give in” to the evil in this hour:
- Simplify your life. Stop wasting time doing things that are not what God has called you to do. Remove every weight such as doing things to please people, or to run after money, or to pursue anything that has no eternal value. For me, God said to remove from my life everything except for five things that all begin with the letter “P”: God asked me to do these things: pray, practice (violin), preach, perform, and prophecy….that’s it. I also eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and do my best to be a good husband and father, but these 5 “P” words are where you will find me investing my time. Of course, God has different callings for each of us, but, if you search your heart and seek the Lord, He will tell you what really matters for you individually.
- Spend time with God. Give Him the first and the best of your time each day. Let Him have the time when you are the freshest and most alert – whenever that is. Start with a tithe of your time. We have all been given 24 hours each day. Give the Lord at least 2 ½ hours daily with absolutely no distractions. I now spend approximately half of my waking hours in prayer, the Word of God, worship (which includes my violin practice), and communion with the Holy Spirit. I have violently and radically cut off everything and everybody else – even those closest to me in my family – so that this time is exclusively for the LORD only. Without spending lots of time daily with God, we will never fulfill our high calling in this life. If Yeshua had to go many times and pray all night, surely, we need to pray and seek God also.
- There are seven primary habits of personal prayer/devotion that I orbit around. By God’s grace, I have done this for nearly 25 years. This is not because I am super-spiritual or something like that. It is simply because I have battled with depression for nearly my entire adult life. It was desperation that drove me deeply into God. (Sometimes I think that our suffering has a way of MAKING us into prayer warriors. If everything had been easy for me, I doubt seriously that I would have done this. I do not believe that God sends it as such, but it certainly has been a great motivational tool. Desperation has been a blessing in disguise for me. After all, if there is a way out of my pain, misery, and defeat, and into victory, don’t you think I want to find that path and to take it at all costs?!)
- · First: Put the Bible in your mouth! I spend about an hour to an hour and a half SPEAKING the promises of God nearly every day. Usually this is when I awaken in the morning, but often at other times too. There are several wonderful books of faith and prayer confessions that I heartily recommend for this:
- · I have recently discovered three new books this year:
- · “Commanding Your Morning” - by Cindy Trimm
“The Rules of Engagement” (Volume one) – by Cindy Trimm
- · “Prayers that Rout Demons” – by John Eckhart
- · In addition, for the past five years or so I have prayed through these books by James Riddle, which contain every promise in the Bible followed by a declaration of faith claiming them–
- · “The Complete Personalized Promise Bible for Men” (there is also one for women)
- · “The Complete Personalized Promise Bible for financal blessing”
- · “The Complete Personalized Promise Bible for health and healing” (these are published through Harrison House)
- · Instead of saying just “I” or “me”, I include others by using the pronouns “us”, “we”, and “our”. After all, Yeshua began His prayer with OUR Father, not MY Father. Also, the important thing to remember is that the power of this lies in CONSISTENCY over time and also to watch all the words coming out of your mouth. Let them be words of blessing and not cursing at all times.
- · Second: The Apostle Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) That means all the time. He also told us in Romans and I Corinthians that we don’t know how to pray and we don’t know what to pray for either so the Holy Spirit has moved in with His power and supernatural languages of tongues to help us in this area. (Romans 8:26-27, I Corinthians 2:7; 14:2,4-5a,14-15,17, 18!,39b!)
- · So, I spend hours and hours speaking in the supernatural languages of the Holy Spirit so God can pray for me and through me for others perfectly according to His divine will. I am in the habit of praying quietly in tongues at all times whenever I am not speaking to someone else. I have found that this practice causes me to average about 4-6 hours a day of praying in the Spirit as I just live my daily life.
- · (For a life changing book on this subject, PLEASE read the book, “The Walk of the Spirit, The Walk of Power” by Dave Roberson. It is available for free online to download at his web sight. I have the highest of respect for this great man of God, who also ordained me in 2000.)
- · Third: Devotional prayer. I pray through the Lord’s prayer in a cyclical way during each week as taught by Larry Lea in his book, “Could You Not Tarry One Hour?” It presents the Lord’s Prayer in an outline form. Originally, this revelation came from Seoul, Korea from David Younggi Cho, and adapted for the west by Larry. This is the way they pray in South Korea. I don’t know whether it is still available in print, but it is well worth the reading if you haven’t read it.
- · (For a further explanation of this prayer and the outline, as well as another teaching on this subject, go to my websight and click on teachings. Then, click on “Victory through Prayer”.)
- · Fourth: Private worship. Spend some time worshiping God with vocal praise, proclamation, singing and instrumental music and/or dance. There is enormous blessing and benefit in just worshiping God by yourself. It will empower you and fill your life with His glorious anointing and Presence!
- · Fifth: I also read through the Bible every 3-6 months. I have alternated for the past several years between reading it out loud and silently while praying in the Spirit. So, I read through the scriptures in their entirety about 2-4 times each year.
- · Sixth: Meditation of the scriptures. I have read through all of the New Testament letters, the book of Proverbs, and the Sermon on the Mount each fifty times through silently while praying in tongues during the past 10 years. God breaks each book to me as bread of revelation and it gets down on the inside of me in the form of images of faith. I am presently reading through the book of Revelation for the 24th time. This is done as the Spirit leads me to read over several weeks and sometimes several months. I keep track of where I am, and just continue until I have read each one fifty times. My next book after the book of Revelation, Lord willing, will be the Song of Solomon.
- · (For in depth teaching on this subject - go to Dave Roberson’s media web sight and download – for free! – his teaching series “Meditation by Assimilation” and “How to Meditate”, and “Meditation, Imagery, and Delivery” – these and all of Pastor Dave’s teachings are life changing! If you are hungry spiritually, he serves the finest filet mignon of pure revelation in these and many other vital subjects.)
- · Seven: fasting. I have done some fasting, but because of health reasons I have to be careful. However, we can fast more than just food and drink. For example: television, leisure activities, sex, as well as food/drink can be abstained from temporarily for the purpose of putting our flesh under and keeping it there. I find daily exercise is also a powerful discipline of my flesh. Fasting does what nothing else will: It enforces the legal position that Yeshua paid for – we died with Him – our bodies are dead and sin shall have no dominion over us. I find what works best is to live a fasted life rather than go on long extended fasts from food. Don’t eat everything you want to. Skip some meals. Keep your body in subjection to your inner spirit man. This is essential for us: especially in those areas of besetting sins, compulsive addictions, and overcoming tough strongholds that we all face.
- · Now, beloved, I am not writing this to condemn you or to put you under laws and obligations. I know that our salvation is free and I live by, love, and celebrate the grace of God. Nevertheless, grace is activated by faith. Faith comes from a disciplined life in the Word of God and prayer when we plant and sow it into our hearts on a daily basis. Stay in the grace of God and let the Holy Spirit lead you in how to implement these prayer and devotional habits into your life.
- · This is my final point:
- · THERE WILL BE NO TRUE AND LASTING VICTORY IN OUR LIVES WITHOUT A DAILY VIOLENT, RADICAL, AND TOTAL PURSUIT OF GOD IN THESE AREAS.
- · Are you spiritually fit for these last days? If not, repent and seek Him like never before!
- · Yeshua our Messiah pleaded with the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, as it is written:
- · “And he cometh to the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.”
- · My love to you all in our Messiah,
- · Maurice Sklar