“I will stand at my watch post; I will remain stationed on the city wall. I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me and can know how I should answer when he counters my argument.” Habakkuk 2:1 NET Bible
The ministry of a watchman is a form of prayer that is focused on praying for God’s purposes and protection over a specific people, geographical area and/or nation. It requires dedication, focus, consistency and perseverance. The watchman’s passion is to discern the will of God and pray it into existence. Simply put, the watchman is called to watch and pray. (See the blog post The Watchman Calling.)
While everyone is commanded in the Scriptures to be sober, vigilant and watchful for the purpose of prayer not everyone has a specific calling and gifting to be a watchman.
Those with a watchman calling could be likened to the person standing next to a wall who is graced with sufficient stature to simply look over the wall for prolonged views of the other side. For those without such stature extra effort is required with a leap or a ladder for even a limited view.
However, regardless of anyone’s calling, it is beneficial for all of us, watchmen and non-watchmen alike, to consider how to grow and function more effectively in the watching and praying ministry.
Here then, from a Biblical overview, are the four essential functions of the prayer ministry of the watchman. An effective watchman is engaged in . . .
1. WAITING upon the Lord. The overarching posture of the watchman and their first priority is always to wait upon the Lord. The waiting process is marked primarily by looking and listening to discern what God is saying. The prophet Habakkuk, himself a watchman, described it this way: “I will stand at my watch post; I will remain stationed on the city wall. I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me and can know how I should answer when he counters my argument.” (NET Bible)
Waiting is often associated with worship. “Praise awaits you, our God in Zion.” (Psalm 65:1 NIV) Worship invites God’s presence and with His presence comes the release of His revelation to the watchman’s heart. The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah in speaking of the watchman said “let him listen diligently, very diligently.” (Isaiah 21:7) That in a nutshell is the best advice a watchman can get!
2. WRITING down what the Lord is revealing, both for reflection and future action. This is the one aspect of watching that is probably most overlooked. But the Lord spoke specifically to Habakkuk, as He would to all of us regarding revelation that He gives us: “Write down this message! Record it legibly on tablets, so the one who announces it may read it easily.” (Habakkuk 2:1 NET Bible) Thank God for all the prophets and scribes of both the Old and New Testaments, who had the presence of mind to faithfully record what God was saying and doing.
God is still speaking today and we would do well to record the things He reveals to us as we watch and wait for Him. A written record allows time for reflection and further discernment as to how to pray. It also provides space to consider if God is giving direction for some specific action steps of faith that need to be taken.
3. WRESTLING with God for His purposes to be established in the earth and against demonic powers hindering the way. Isaiah gives us insight into the persistence in prayer that expected of watchmen by the Lord. “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7 NIV) Like Jacob wrestling with the angel, we as watchmen are to show the same tenacity in not letting go until He blesses. (Genesis 32:22-32)
And by the same token, as watchman like Daniel, we must relentlessly wrestle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” until the enemy is defeated and the victory is won. (Ephesians 6:12 ESV & Daniel 10)
4. WARNING when necessary at the prompting of the Lord. Sometimes spiritual watchmen, like natural ones are responsible before the Lord to issue a warning. Several times in the book of Ezekiel we see God telling him “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” (Ezekiel 3:17 & 33:7 NIV)
One caveat here would be that warnings should be given in the fear of the Lord and only after earnest waiting, writing and wrestling. The watchman should have, as Ezekiel did a clear word from the Lord to take what God has shown for prayer and share it appropriately. Cultivating a healthy fear of the Lord is the best way to insure God’s wisdom as to how to steward the revelation that He gives. (Proverbs 9:10)
If you have been called as a watchman, please take the time to share in the comment section below, any insights you may have from your watchman experience. In my next blog post I will share God’s leading in my life personally in helping me answer His calling to be a watchman.
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