There is a growing momentum of prayer rising in the earth at this present time, and a call for each of us to take our place on the walls of prayer – for our families and churches, and for our cities and our nations.
The ancient concept of a ‘watchman on the walls’ may be foreign to us these days. However when we study this concept in both the Old and New Testaments, it’s clear that ‘keeping watch’ in prayer is what we are all tasked to do. I’ll leave the in-depth word study on that topic for another time. But it’s a fascinating and insightful study!
As I have looked at the key scriptures related to the ministry of the watchman, here are a few things I’ve discovered about what I believe are key heart pursuits for the watchman.
Watchmen have oil in their lamps
Watchmen seek to have oil of intimacy stored, and to be prepared and alert.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming,” ~ Matt. 25:13.
The heart of the watchman is inextricably linked to the coming of the Bridegroom (see Matthew 25 and Isaiah 62).
I believe this is foundational to all the other heart pursuits – we are first worshippers and seekers of deeper intimacy with God.
Watchmen are relentless and wholehearted.
Watchmen are to give no rest until their assignment is complete. They remind the Lord of His promises, and do not relent until He fulfils His word.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth,” ~ Isaiah 62:6-7
Anna the Prophetess is a beautiful example of a watchman who was wholeheartedly dedicated to the Lord. She was a prophetess and intercessor who prayed and fasted in the temple day and night, and did not depart from there (Luke 2:36-38). Isaiah 62:6-7 describes the watchmen who give no rest day and night. Anna demonstrates the enduring faith and grace of one who ‘gave no rest’ and sustained a life of prayer over many decades.
Watchmen are sustained by the delight of the Lord.
Immediately preceding the well-known watchman verse in Isaiah 62:6-7 are these incredible verses:
“But you shall be called Hephzibah [the Lord’s delight], and your land Beulah [married]; For the Lord delights in you… And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride , so shall your God rejoice over you.” ~ Isaiah 62:4-5
The key to long lasting intercessory prayer is to know the delight of the Lord. Without it, we will burn out and grow weary and discouraged. Encountering the Lord’s delight will keep our hearts engaged with His beauty and desire.
Watchmen know their assignment and their sphere of authority, and remain teachable and humble.
“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me and what I will answer when I am corrected.” ~ Habakkuk. 2:1
A watchman may have an assignment to pray for a church, a family or individual, a city, or a nation. We must know our sphere, and stay within the bounds of that authority. We must also posture our hearts in humility, and ‘watch and see’ what the Lord is saying. From this verse (and many others) we also read that watchman prayer is about seeing and discerning, and how we prayerfully respond to what we see. Usually it is to pray, and sometimes it is to sound the alarm to those who sit at the gates (ie. leaders and elders).
Watchmen work together in unity of relationship with others to protect the walls of their cities:
“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah 4:6
“The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall., Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” – Nehemiah 4:19-20
“Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion.” ~ Isaiah 52:8
As I read these passages, I was reminded just how much the Lord wants us to come together in corporate prayer, not just hide away all the time in our prayer closets without connecting to the wider Body. Our prayer assignments concerning people and families are generally held before the Lord in the hidden place of prayer. But where we have an assignment for our cities and nations, it takes a mobilised Body coming together to build the walls of prayer in a city. In Nehemiah we read that every person had a role in rebuilding the walls, and no person was excluded from this work. This paints a powerful picture of how it takes every person doing their part for the work to be completed.
A Call to All
So can I encourage you today to consider your ‘call to the wall’, and what prayer assignments the Lord might be inviting you into for this year and decade? Or perhaps even longer term? At this appointed moment in the timeline of God, where we are crossing over into a new era, every Believer is invited to take their place.
There will likely be opportunities in your city to connect in with the wider Body for corporate prayer. I encourage you to participate in these, as well as setting your heart to pursue greater intimacy with the Lord.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)