Watch and Pray!

Watch and Pray
From the May 9th reading
Jesus calls us to Keep Watch and Pray! What are we to keep watch for? What is it that we are to guard ourselves from?
Matthew 26:36-46
Matthew 26:41
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NIV)
  • “Watch and pray” – watch for danger!
  • We are told many times in the gospels to “keep watch”
  • So that we will not fall into temptation
  • Our spirit – because of His Spirit living in us – is willing (wants) to obey
  • But our flesh is weak
  • Temptations overcome us because we focus more on our flesh then we do our spirits



  • Spend more time on your spirit (soul) – strengthening it
  • Focus less on your physical needs / wants / desires
  • Be on guard against temptations
  • Know your weaknesses & fortify!
  • Put on the armor of God to stand guard (Eph. 6)
I will never forget being a young Boy Scout and going on my first camping trip. There were troops from all over, and there were tents and squirrely young boys spread out over this camp ground. It was the first night, and we were all exhausted. Shortly after falling asleep there was a lot of commotion and a bell from the dining hall began to ring loudly over and over. All of us jumped out of our little tents and looked around blurry eyed and scared. Imagine our shock and fear when we saw flames engulfing some tents on the other side of the camp! One of the boys had accidentally lit his tent on fire with his lantern. Everyone got safely away, but many of us older boys were on “fire watch” throughout the night as we waited for buses to come and take us away. We watched through the night as the fire spread to the surrounding trees, but fortunately they blew in the opposite direction. I remember sitting up through the night, along with a few other boys, dutifully watching the flames for any change of direction. We were all weary and tired, but we were too fearful to fall asleep.
Jesus is calling us to this same kind of watchfulness. We aren’t to give up or become weary in our fight against evil, and especially our own flesh. In this passage, and in many others Jesus instructs the disciples to keep watch. In Matthew 7:15 He says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” In Matthew 24:4 He warns them to “Watch out that no one deceives you.” And again in Matthew 24:42 Jesus warns, “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
This word watch, in the original language (gregoreo), is an interesting one. It means to “be awake”, “to be on the alert”, and “to watch”. The idea here is to remain vigilant, not to be distracted, or to fall asleep.
Like the disciples who kept falling asleep, while Jesus prayed in the Garden, we too have a tendency to get distracted or to doze off. But Jesus warns us to be on guard. We are to be watchful for false teachers, false Christ’s, and for the coming of the Lord.
But in Matthew 26:41 we find one of the more important commands when it comes to keeping watch: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Temptation comes at us from all sides, and many times from places or persons that we could never have imagined.
First Peter 5:8 is a warning to all of us: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” One author explains the meaning of this passage better than I could, “Christians should be constantly alert because the enemy (antidikos, “adversary”), the devil (diabolos, “slanderer”), is always actively seeking an opportunity for a vicious attack.”[i] Satan’s goal in life is to steal, kill, and destroy! He will do everything possible to keep us from becoming all that we can become in Christ Jesus.
But our biggest weakness is our own flesh. No matter how hard we try, and no matter how much we grow we will always have our flesh fighting against His Spirit within us. It is a battle that wages within us and it is real! Jesus instructs us to “watch and pray”, and that the “spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.
We all need to be on high alert, against Satan, and our own worst enemy – our flesh! We also need to keep watch for His coming. His coming is nearer now than ever before. I don’t know about you, but my spirit is crying out, “Come now Lord Jesus, come now!”
Pray for the strength that you will need to keep watch. Pray for His strength and that He will protect you from temptation. Pray that you will be ready for His return!
Each week’s Motivation is taken from the reading schedule found in the Life Journal. If you are ready for the next step in your discipleship, then order yours today or see me for a copy.
If you would like help in growing in your faith, or if you would like to know how to have faith in Him, then please contact us at (928)636-2949 or email me at
[i] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Leave a Reply