The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 117 of 214
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Watch and pray.
pp. 62 - 65
In previous articles we have seen that prayer is our high privilege, entailing access to
the Father through the mediation of Christ: that it has our own spiritual growth in view,
and that its highest expression may be found in the utterance of David, "Do as Thou hast
The Lord and His apostle Paul have linked prayer and watching, and it is with this
element in prayer, and its relation to apparently unanswered prayer, that we hope to deal
in this article. First let us consider some passages that illustrate this:--
"Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13: 23).
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always" (Luke 21: 36).
"Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6: 18).
In these passages the word "watch" is agrupneo, to be sleepless. The figure of a
sentinel aptly indicates the attitude, and is seen in Eph. 6: 18 as a sequel to the armour
and the wrestling in the context:--
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation" (Matt. 26: 41).
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving" (Col. 4: 2).
Here "watch" is gregoreo, to be awake, vigilant.
"The end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer"
(I Pet. 4: 7).
Here "watch" is nepho, abstinent, not drunk.
It will be seen that the first and last references cited are connected with the element of
"Ye know not when the time is,"
"The end of all things is at hand,"
and this factor of time is closely associated with the watching attitude of prayer. We can
illustrate the point best by turning to the prophecy of Habakkuk, which opens with the
burden of unanswered prayer:--
"O Lord, how long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear? Even cry out unto Thee of
violence, and Thou wilt not save?" (Hab. 1: 2).
This passage discloses a state of mind common to many, and it is to help such to a
firmer position that we write these words. Why did God not answer? We do not know