When Jesus instructs us in Acts 1:4 to wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He calls us to “watch” with Him in prayer. There is no better example in all of scripture of faithfulness to the ministry of prayer than Jesus. We see Him during His ministry often withdrawing to a quiet place to spend time alone with the Father.
While Jesus never ceased to be God when He was incarnated as man, He voluntarily set aside the privileges of His divinity and did what He did on earth as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He continually withdrew to a quiet place and “waited” before the Father. He prayed with a spiritual alertness.
In Matthew 26 He calls on Peter, John, and James to “Watch” with Him for one hour. The word that He uses actually means to remain awake; to be spiritually alert. And yet as Jesus pours out His heart in prayer to the Father, these three weary disciples continually fall asleep. Jesus wakes them and says, “Watch and pray” so that you do not fall into temptation.
The great need of our churches and of disciples today is that we wake from our spiritual sleep and watch with Christ in prayer. It requires diligence on our part. It requires discipline. The truth is real and effective prayer is hard work. Our minds wander, we are easily distracted. We are action oriented and tend to think we must do something more meaningful. But as Oswald Chambers has said, “Prayer doesn’t prepare us for the greater work, it is the greater work.”
If the church is to rise above functioning as a well-tuned organization (which is man’s best offering), then we must “Wait” for the “When” of Acts 1. A significant part of “waiting” before God means spiritual alertness and tuning in to God through prayerful attention.
Why not begin today with a fresh time of prayer in your life to begin each day? What could be more significant or crucial in your life than the breath of God? I invite you to join in watchfulness in prayer.