"WATCH, then, and remember.....I place you in the care of God and the message of his grace. He is able to build you up and give you the blessings he keeps for all His people." - Acts 20:31,32
Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the world when God gave him a revelation of the true King as he lay in his bed one night. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he saw that there are spiritual realities conducting spiritual activities that are invisible to the naked eye. He saw WATCHERS, majestic messengers of Heaven, bringing decrees from the throne of God that concerned the kingdoms of this earth:
"I saw in visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a WATCHER, a holy one, coming down from Heaven. He cried aloud and said thus...
"'This decision is by decree of the WATCHERS, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.'" (Daniel 4:13,14,17)
When Nebuchadnezzar heard the decree he realized he was not in charge. He also learned that holy messengers participate in administering the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
ADVANCING THE KINGDOM THOUGH PRAYER AND PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL
The Church enters into that work as, one by one, our hearts are awakened to fulfill our priestly ministry together as intercessors. In these latter days, the Church has become the chosen vessel to carry the Kingdom to the earth.
The main activity immediately coupled with Jesus' first mention of the Church is authority to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth through the activity of prayer, "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 16:19).
The Church is the vehicle through which God advances His Kingdom. Prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel are the means by which we will prevail. "Now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10).
CALLED TO BECOME WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS
What we see on Pentecost is the glory and presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and the context in which He appears is in the corporate gathering of the Church, WATCHING and praying in one accord. The Church began to vibrate with the power and glory of the Kingdom and turned the kingdoms of the world upside down in a matter of generations. They accomplished this through corporate WATCHING together in prayer.
God calls the people of the Church to become WATCHMEN on the walls and the more corporate we become, the better it is. There is more power in corporate watching and praying.
In Acts 12: "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the Church" (Acts 12:5). Peter's plight was dire, but notice that he was not praying—he was sleeping. It was the Spirit-filled Church that had the mission, through prayer and prayer alone, to rescue him from this perilous situation.
The Church engaged in constant, WATCHING prayer. They were a picture of prayer: fervent, continuous, unswayed by circumstances or disappointments, prevailing until the victory is won.
They did not pray a few hours one day, but a long time. It says they offered "constant prayer." By the time of Peter's rescue, they may have been engaged for several if not many days of prayer already. Even in the middle of the night, there were some who were gathered together in WATCHING prayer for Peter's life. After days and nights of constant prayer, suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and the prison cell was filled with a bright light. Prayer will move Heaven and earth, releasing angels to hearken to His Word.
LOOSING THE CHURCH TO HER DESTINY
The angel struck Peter to wake him up, and his chains fell off. In the same way, our corporate, fervent prayers will loose chains of iniquity, injustice, darkness, and oppression and release captives to freedom. The account also gives us a picture of the power of prayer to loose the Church to her destiny, a Church bound by religion, humanism, and principalities of this age; chained between soldiers, imprisoned by iron gates, but set free by prayer.
Peter was led by the angel through the gates and past the guard posts. The city gate opened of its own accord. Jesus said that He was going to build His Church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (see Matthew 16:17). No matter what the enemy has thrown at you, no matter what gates of iron may seem to block your path, this is the promise to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Corporate watching prayer is God's awesome secret weapon. We are on a rescue operation to see signs and wonders and the greater works restored to His Church, to confirm the Gospel message.
"Your Kingdom come," the prayer of the Church, is a corporate expression. Individually and corporately we stretch ourselves out in prayer in a posture of expectation until Christ comes.
We will fulfill what Jesus asked when He said in the Gospels, "What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" (Mark 13:37).
The final amen to all Christian praying from the days of those first apostles onward is the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. All Christian prayer prevails in the expectation of His appearing. We are praying toward the consummation of His will, which is His Kingdom established and a new Heaven, a new earth, filled with His new creation.
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