Our Women’s Bible study is doing a topical study on discipleship. In addition to the study homework, reading through the book of Acts is another level of deeper involvement in the study. I have been reading through a chapter a day and am fascinated by what Holy Spirit is showing me that I haven’t paid attention to before.
I am particularly fascinated by the praying that takes place in chapters 9 and 10. In Acts 9:10 we find the Lord calling to Ananias in a vision. It is most likely that Ananias was praying because visions and prayer were often associated with each other in the books of Luke and Acts. Further along we find Ananias praying over Saul so that he may see again and be filled with Holy Spirit.
In Chapter 10; Cornelius, a Roman centurion, from the Italian Regiment ( now, that has never stood out at me!), and who was, along with his family, devout and God-fearing, was praying one day at three in the afternoon. Guess what happened? He had a vision! The next day at noon Peter was praying and…he had a vision!
All of this had me thinking about the watches of the night. The night watches were designated times that soldiers or guards would stand watch for any threat by an enemy. In the OT the watches were broken down into 3 times; sunset to 10:00pm, 10:00pm to 2:00am and 2:00am to sunrise. In the NT a fourth watch was added. The first watch ends at 9:00pm, then 9:00pm to 12:00am, 12:00am to 3:00am and 3:00am to 6:00am.
Recently I had the opportunity to teach on Matthew 28:19,20 and I discovered that the word obey in the v.20 is actually the word observe in the original Greek and it means to spiritually guard. When I think of spiritually guard it reminds me of the armor of God in Ephesians, which is a depiction of a Roman soldier dressed and fitted for battle.
We, as believers in Christ, are like the picture of the Roman soldier ready for battle. We are clothed and equipped with several items, among them the helmet of salvation, which protects our mind, the breastplate of righteousness, which protects our heart and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which is Jesus himself and protects our soul!
Think about the times you have been awakened during the night for what may have seemed no reason at all. Has it been during the watches of the night or fairly close? I am often awakened at 3:00am sometimes I go back to sleep and sometimes I will pray. A few mornings ago, at 3:00am, I woke up and asked God what he wanted me to pray about. I heard Holy Spirit whisper, “I am calling the Body of Christ around the world to stand the watches of the night.” “Pray that they will listen and accept the call.”
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8.
Can you imagine what it would look like if every believer in Christ accepted the call to their designated watch of the night?! There wouldn’t be anything for the enemy to devour!
And should you think you would be too tired to go on with your day if you stood your watch.
He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29.
Precious One, will you go to bed tonight clothed in the full armor of God and answer his call to stand your watch of the night? I will join you.