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-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Contributing Authors:
Alison Bowling A.Bowling@utas.edu.au, Lucy Deliganis deliganis@worldnet.att.net, Paul Gaskin paul.gaskin@bbsrc.ac.uk, Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net
EDITOR:Alison Bowling

Prayer Resources

Lesson 9

By Paul Gaskin

Book Review: Watch of The Lord

by Mahesh & Bonnie Chavda

The Birth of the Watch of the Lord

The vision was birthed in 1986 in Washington DC, when God showed Mahesh the fires of revival falling, visiting first the humble, holy and hungry. This fire was ignited by prayer, intercession and fasting. Mahesh had received much from God in these areas and He began to talk to him about imparting this gift to others and that this anointing would be instrumental in bringing down strongholds over nations. At the same time God was visiting his wife Bonnie back at home in Florida. God's presence in the house had become so intense that she spent hours at a time awake at night watching and worshipping and being renewed. They were told by the Lord that their church was to meet for 20 days early in the morning for prayer. During that time they received a remarkable visitation that, although it waned due to man's interference, birthed within them a hunger for more of the Lord's presence. He said to them "occupy till I come", so they got on with life and ministry and waited. When renewal came in 1994, the weekly setting aside of time to be with the Lord in intimacy was rekindled. The visitations of God's manifest presence with the cloud of glory began again in their home and they learned to yield to it, to welcome Him and to be sensitised to His nearness. Prayer went on all the time, often spontaneously energised by this anointing, so they decided to call the hungry and thirsty together on Friday nights to spend "date night with Jesus". As the visitations continued, the Lord showed Bonnie in a vision how vital it was to restore His "watch", the instrument whereby the will of heaven is made manifest on the earth. Mahesh believes that the watch is the link between the current renewal and the long-awaited end time harvest. What began in 1995, and for a year wasn't publicised in order to allow it to find form, now (in 1999) has grown to 500 watches, both large and small, across the world.

The Watch in Scripture

(Watch, n: the act of keeping awake to guard, protect or attend; (obsolete) the state of being wakeful; .. a state of alert and continuous attention. - Webster's Dictionary) Watching is very evident in Scripture and yielded much fruit. Just as well it wasn't obsolete in biblical times when there was great need of God's deliverance. (Hebrew: Mishmereth - the act of watching or the post itself. Mishmar - diligence, guard .. watch. Shamar - to hedge about, to protect, attend, take heed. Tsaphah (watchman) - to lean forward, to peer into the distance, to observe, espy, (keep the) watch.)

Jacob watched all night, deeply troubled after he had tricked Esau. He met the angel, laid hold of him, had his name changed and God transformed his identity. As we watch, God will do the same for us and grant us authority before Him. During the first Passover vigil the Israelites stayed awake all night with the Lord and watched for Him to bring deliverance. Rahab lived on the wall, which is the place of watching, and so she knew that God was about to destroy the city of Jericho, and when she hid the spies, she acted in faith to avert trouble and saved herself and her family. Samuel first heard the voice of God at night because he knew the value of watching. David was used to spending nights awake with the Lord, meditating, being instructed, making music to the Lord and crying out to Him when the going was tough. Solomon was visited at night by God and his life bore much fruit thereby. Other Old Testament examples are Habbakuk, Ezekiel, Ruth, Nehemiah, and notably Joel, who called the nation to pray and watch at night after destruction had come on them. They were to repent and ask God to be gracious and restore them.

During the watch, we are weak but as we abide in Him, He is able to show Himself strong. Anna served God with fastings and prayers, night and day, and so was in the right place at the right time when the baby Jesus was brought into the temple. Jesus spent His watching times in intimate communion with the Father, when He received the anointings to work miracles. He spent forty days in the wilderness in weakness, but returned in the power of the Spirit. Watching was one of the practical foundations of His earthly ministry. He received instructions on whom to select as apostles while watching - this is a key to releasing the apostolic in our day. He was also enabled to minister healing and deliverance to the people, another key for us. Because of Jesus' pattern of watching, Judas knew just where to find Him in Gethsemane, as He readied Himself to make intercession with His own body between God and man. His final instructions before the cross were for all to watch - (Greek: gregoreuo - be vigilant, wake, be watchful :agrupneo - to be sleepless, keep awake, watch)- all means everybody, not just a select few. After Jesus' ascension, His followers spent much time in prayer and so were ready and in position when Pentecost came and the Spirit fell. Peter was delivered as a result of the church watching and praying. Paul and Silas kept an impromptu watch after they had been thrown in jail and as a result, the doors were opened, chains fell off, and a whole family came to the Lord. This is the potential of the watch for us; as we wait in intercession the Lord pays us a visit and miracles happen. Develop a secret history with the Lord, in that hidden place of intercession and watching; it is the underground fount of anointing and public miracles. Jesus taught the disciples to pray because they knew that His intimacy with the Father was the source of God's power in His life.

The Watch of the Lord

Having made the decision to seek God in prayer, He honours it with an empowering grace to overcome weakness. The watch involves fasting food and sleep, usually on a Friday night from 10pm to 6am, taking back on behalf of the Creator that realm of time the enemy thought was his own. Foremost is the Lord's agenda, enfolded in praise and worship, then corporate intercession for nations, leaders and topical concerns. Prayer, the Gifts and intimate worship flow together as God takes over. There will be times of ministry, but personal issues are not paramount. Often the glory presence of God increases during the fourth watch (3am-6am) and the heavens begin to open. Militarily and spiritually this "dead of night" is a very strategic time, when the watch is most needed and when there is greatest clarity in the spirit. It is easy to lose track of time because of the anointing. Just being there, even asleep, and absorbing the glory is transforming. Young children, if supervised, are welcome to soak in this atmosphere. Older ones will be equipped in their walk and in watching for themselves. A house of prayer is God's "address", where He loves to spend time communing with His people in a "tent" made of a fluid mix of praise, worship, thanksgiving, supplication, intercession, prophecy and proclamation. The watch is a bonus for any pastor, because the anointing flowing from it "oils" the weekly life of the church, loosens hard ground and removes the "chaff". Lives are changed and deepened in God, walls come down and the apostolic is released. It is not uncommon to see healings and so on, but the greatest reward is answered prayer, both personally and nationally. People flock from far and wide to be there because Jesus, the most Important Guest, comes too.

The Wall of Prayer

The enemy's intention is to destroy the land, and he seeks breaches in the wall of prayer so that he can gain access. Corporate prayer will restore that breach. This age-old vision of the wall, at times complete and at times broken down, was a focus of the Moravians of Herrnhut in the 18th century. Their corporate prayer revival had effect all around the world in evangelisation and missions. It impacted the Wesley brothers, introducing them to the Spirit's power, and it sparked the revivals in Wales and Azusa Street that themselves sent further waves of revival anointing around the world. Nehemiah was a prophetic forerunner of this wall of prayer as he rebuilt Jerusalem's fallen ramparts. He kept his focus on God as he petitioned the king, and as he faced opposition in the shape of derision, accusation and subversion; factors that can be expected to come against any watch. This Godward focus meant he wasn't fazed by any of the enemy's tactics, and neither should we be as we eat from God's table in the presence of our enemies. Like Jerusalem then, our societies today are in ruins and have become a spiritual vacuum, devoid of God and prey to anything that seeks to fill it. Any nation that grieves the Holy Spirit causes Him to leave and a void in the spirit realm is created, inviting Antichrist to come in.

Corporate Prayer and Intercession

A watchman was given a vision of a vast field waiting to be cultivated. The workers were few, with limited tools of prayer, but went to work willingly. After a while there were just a few small plants coming up. Then there was the sound of the roaring engine of a huge tractor/combine that had appeared, and it was evident that it could complete in a few days what the lone workers could not achieve in a lifetime. The jovial driver of this combine offered to help and said it could plant, fertilise, water and weed. When asked what he was driving, he replied "this baby is corporate prayer". "Pray corporately" is the new word for today. Prayer is the true genetic code of the church, and consistent united corporate prayer is essential if we are to see revival poured out. The day of the "Lone Ranger" is over, independence exchanged for interdependence and moving in harmony. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, watching intercession is a pleasure not a burden, and where God's agenda is primary. The Lord is exalted in praise and worship and joyful celebration and He is our Watchman Intercessor who loves to woo us into His presence. He is the Bridegroom who wants to love on His bride, the church, to purify her and to make her ready, rather than to harshly condemn and judge her. Intercession is a place of being, not doing, of being in the gap whilst experiencing God's glory and His Spirit of intercession on us. Jesus didn't so much pray intercession for us as make intercession with His own body on the cross, and this is to be our pattern. Abraham and Moses learned what an intimate place with God it is, knowing His heart to save. Jonah was not a good intercessor; his heart was to see judgement (how ever much deserved) come upon Nineveh. Harmonising together provides atomic power in prayer, much as the core of a nuclear reactor or bomb undergoes fission when it reaches critical mass. There is mutual covering in corporate prayer, and as God commands the blessing on His united ones, the burden is distributed according to the talents and giftings of each. Corporate prayer is a long-term commitment, a calling to be joyfully embraced, not a fad to be taken up lightly.

The Bride in the Watch

The Lord spoke to Mahesh in a series of visions that the watch was to be like Ruth at night, lying down at the feet of Boaz and that Naomi (a type of the Holy Spirit) encouraged her in this. Boaz (a type of Jesus) awoke to find her there and told her that she had stolen his heart by her humble obedience. Thus the watch became a "date night with Jesus" when the Bride, the church, meets with her Bridegroom for a time of intimacy that requires some preparation first. There has to be a washing and cleansing with the Word, an anointing with the oil of the Holy Spirit, and a clothing with fine garments. The garment of praise and worship takes precedence over personal agendas. Mahesh reports that angels have been seen and heard joining in. It is an atmosphere of loving on Jesus for hours, of listening to Him and feasting on Him, of breaking the alabaster box and pouring costly perfume on Him. This "wasting time on Jesus", of just being in His presence, opens a new dimension of prayer. At certain strategic moments just the right God-breathed prayer ascends to heaven, accomplishing far more than hours of well-intentioned but soulish activity can. In the same way that a watchman who watches on the wall is simply "there" in obedience and alertness, the watch is a state of "being" not of doing. Every watch is different, as the Lord sets the agenda and tells us what to do. The power stems from a Bridal intimate relationship with Jesus our passionate Lover, as described in the Song of Solomon. In one watch they felt a heavenly wind come into the building that was like the Lord "kissing" them with His fragrant presence. They have known the literal glory presence of the Lord, even a visible cloud or a supernatural light as the Shekinah that accompanies the Lord enters with Him. There is often major healing, deliverance and radical salvation as the glory comes, and this glory, once tasted, ruins people for anything less. As they commune with God, they began to vibrate in harmony with the atmosphere of heaven, just as a tuning fork resonates with the vibration it's tuned to and thereby becomes one with it. Without the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit, prayer is boring, but as the River of Life flows, praying in the flow of this refreshing River is so easy. In the same way, this River deals with the enemy's obstacles by either flowing round them, or removing them, and with little human intervention.

The Bride in Combat Boots

Bonnie and Mahesh believe that the Watch is the Lord's powerful weapon against the powers of darkness in these last days. God is taking us out of our comfort zones into His "boot camp" in order to turn us into His mighty army. We are in a war with spiritual forces of evil that seek to influence the earthly realm for ill. Jesus is seeking mature warriors who will fight as one and not be terrified of the enemy. Angels join in the Watch, sent to protect, or to war, or to bring healing, and God expects that their assistance is requested. Supernatural weapons needed for this battle are protective armour, the sword of the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, worship and praise, binding the strongman, resisting the devil, gifts of the Spirit, unity and the blood of Jesus. The watch is a marathon, not a sprint, so we pray faithfully till we see results, diligently maintaining the wall of prayer. The Watch is military discipline, it is soldiers on duty, but is also fun. Fasting food and sleep is a humbling experience that destroys pride and looks to the Lord alone for the answers, and our bodies have to be told to "be quiet" when they grumble. This Bride is armed and dangerous!

Prophetic Watchmen

The "unsinkable" Titanic and the disaster it suffered is a prophetic picture of the church in this hour. The passengers were making merry, with every comfort and convenience, whilst the two lookouts were at their inhospitable posts, peering into the night looking for icebergs. The tragedy was that they had not been supplied with binoculars and by the time they saw the berg, it was too late. Two properly equipped watchmen could have made all the difference, in the same way that prophetic intercessors with the right equipment are vital for the church in this hour. Prophetic watchmen look up to the face of God, as well as outwards, and individually receive insights from Him that when put together, make a full picture. They are like all-seeing eagles, soaring high in the Spirit. The prophetic flows in the worship, with new songs, dance or prophetic enactment and in fresh revelation, so that we are not in the "dark" about what God is doing. The River of God that flows in the watch takes us wherever He wants to go and often we hear reports after the event of what He did elsewhere as faithful intercession was made. The watchman's job description is to be in place, to receive intelligence (revelation of what God sees) of the enemy's plans, and then to sound the alarm. The welfare of nations is on his shoulders.

The Watch and Israel

One night in 1995, Mahesh watched alone at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which he describes as an open place of communion with heaven and a prophetic picture of the watch. God spoke to him: "Is there anybody who will watch with Me? .. I'm coming earlier than you expect." King David was a watchman also; God would awaken him in the night, it is said, by blowing on the strings of his harp. The spiritual warfare over Israel is intense, so the call to arms in intercession is particularly strong for this nation that belongs solely to God. Jesus, the Bridegroom, will not forget Israel, and neither will He permit us His bride to forget that part of His family. God releases unimaginable power in prayer as Jew and gentile come together to pray for this land, and blessing will come upon those who pray. Communism fell to the power of God so that the Jews living under its yoke could be free to return to their land. He told Mahesh: "Tell My People to remember Jerusalem. Their destiny is joined to her."

Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept

Here are some watch guidelines, they are not hard and fast rules, but principles that work. The Lord is the Captain of every watch and directions come from Him first of all.

  1. Designate a watch leader, a captain. The Holy Spirit honours His appointed leadership and directs the choice. This person must be used to soaking in the manifest presence of the Lord, and a man or woman of prayer.
  2. Appoint a watch communications officer who can record prophetic revelation, and perhaps other "scribes" to log the events throughout the night. Habbakuk was one such watchman-scribe. As appropriate, share the log of the previous watch to see what the Spirit was saying. Communicate, using modern technology, with other watch groups to get a more global picture.
  3. Establish a Watch of the Lord protocol. These are so that watchers know what is appropriate, e.g. children should be supervised, avoid idle chatter, the start time observed, freedom to come and go, or to "snooze" in the anointing. Prophetic words should be run by the watch captain first. A ministry team should be available for personal prayer. At some point, take corporate communion.
  4. Designate worship leaders. As worship is a vital ingredient of the watch, have perhaps more than one leader, and have them hand over seamlessly so as to not disturb the flow. Have simple percussion instruments to hand so that all the watchmen can join in, and perhaps designate an area for prophetic dance.
  5. Intercession in the Watch. The anointing for intercession generally falls in the later hours of the watch, after time spent loving and worshipping the Lord. There are no formulas, but seek to cover in prayer the church of Jesus Christ, watchmen across the globe, local and national leaders, Jerusalem, national concerns, ministry leaders and pastors, families of the watchmen, those in need, requests from individuals, and for the leaders of the watch.
  6. Corporate communion and giving. Share the Lord's Table and take up an offering for the poor.

The Individual Watch

Whilst God is calling us to pray corporately, anyone can be a watchman, particularly for their own family. Maybe call a few fanatics for Jesus together to watch and pray if a larger group is not appropriate. Mahesh describes how he met the Lord in a powerful way the first time he watched alone on the Western Wall. The joy of the Lord's presence will compensate for the lack of watch companions. Gideon, Daniel and Habbakuk all watched alone. As we praise and worship, the Lord comes to establish His throne where there is adoration of Him. Be free to ride on the wind of the Spirit, become abandoned in His presence and step into the heavenly visions of Scripture. Music from an anointed CD is an excellent starting place. Very often what took hours will seem like moments when lost in God. Keep a personal journal so that the flow of the Spirit can be traced, follow a scriptural pattern, and put on the armour of God. As we "just do it", the Lord compensates for any lack as He gives the lead.

God Plus One Is a Majority

Anyone can start a watch and whether it may grow or not, as fervent prayers are uttered the results are large for God's kingdom. With God, small and in agreement is powerful, so do not despise the day of small things. Biblical and even recent history is replete with accounts of a few, or one, turning the tide during desperate hours. When two or three gather in His name, awesome things happen. The story of Gideon and his tiny band is instructive. God pared their number right down and removed their natural weapons so that He could equip them with His heavenly ones. As they obeyed Him, He released His mighty power and His Sword cut down their enemies. Even the strategies are a picture of the watch: go at night, wait, at the given signal release the shout, do not turn back till there is complete victory. Often the shofar is blown at the start of the watch; it is a call to arms, to light our torches and to take our positions on the wall. There are many testimonies of miraculous healings and salvations, even of remote family members, and heavenly gold dust has appeared on people. As we embrace the watch and share the vision, God wishes to expand it to more nights per week, even to full blown 24 hour, 7 day worship and intercession. God has even sparked off watches in prisons, with amazing blessings coming on the inmates.

It's Almost Midnight

Returning to the prophetic picture of the Titanic, that sank in the face of the arrogant boast that "even God Himself could not sink this ship". Because the vital wireless equipment was being used to send frivolous messages, they were oblivious to the disaster that loomed as midnight was approaching. This is where we are on God's prophetic timetable and the church must use her resources wisely, not wastefully. The assignment of the church in this hour is to be ready and vigilant, with plenty of oil for her lamps because, prior to the Lord's return, there will come a time of difficulty that will induce sorrow, grief and slumber. Get used to praying for good things rather than judgement to happen in the earth, and if the God of mercy shows us disaster coming, it is because He wants us to pray to avert it. World events show us that we are in the last of the last days, and so perseverance is called for in the intensifying fight against the powers of darkness. Pray the glory down so that the nations see Jesus, and don't be distracted by the enemy. Fear not times of trial, but be saturated in the love and peace of God. Cry out for the spiritual latter rain that brings in the harvest. Now is a time to go full steam ahead into what's coming, not to try and turn aside like the captain of the Titanic did, and presented the side of the ship to the iceberg to be ripped open. In 1998, Papua New Guinea was hit by a deadly tsunami, but a group of Christians were told by the Lord to row towards the wave, and the rest of the people ran into the jungle. They had to row uphill and crested the wave before it struck the shore, with the result that only one person in their villages died. We are called, as optimistic watchmen, to get as many as we can in our "boat" and head for the coming wave of the Holy Spirit, and not sit idly around glumly waiting, or run in the opposite direction.

(Reviewer's note: a "watchman" is a biblical term, and for the purposes of a present-day watch can be either a man or a woman, or for that matter a child, so no gender specificity is implied.)

-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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