Oh that our nation, our churches, our families and neighbors might give God a reason to sing and rejoice over us (Zep 3:14-17). #HolyHootenanny #SweetSongOfSalvation
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The SONG FEST OF ISRAEL. “Sing O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel! Be glad, rejoice O daughter of Jerusalem! Cheer up, Zion! God himself is singing and rejoicing over Israel with his joyful songs of love.”
Why the SONG FEST? Because God has lifted his hand of judgment and has destroyed Israel’s enemies. He is removing all disaster, troubles and fear from Israel. He is among them again as their acknowledged Savior. His remnant (2:7,9; 3:13) of faithful ones are restored. Lord, you sing sweet songs of deliverance over your faithful ones.
Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:
* A social gathering, often informal, featuring folk singing and instrumental music, sometimes dancing. It’s “Holy” when God sings over us (Zep 3:17).
May we as a people and as a nation understand the depths of God‘s love for us (2Ch 33:11-13) #TheDepthsOfGod’sLove #NothingIsImpossibleForGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Because of King Manasseh’s deep dive into disobedience toward God and his extreme wickedness, he was taken prisoner, enslaved by Assyria and removed from Jerusalem. While in deep distress he was broken. He humbled himself before God and prayed a prayer of deep remorse.
The Lord listened to Manasseh and was deeply moved. He brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Manasseh finally understood that the Lord alone is God. Perhaps, in his deep distress, he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord’s arm is not so weak that it cannot save and his ear is not so deaf that he cannot hear” (Isa 59:1).
Thank you Lord. You heard a young soldier’s cry of deep repentance in Vietnam, 50+ years ago. This old sentry was changed forever.
Christians around the world are praying for Ukraine. Churches are praying in their gatherings every week. We wanted to offer some ways to pray, along with some accompanying Scripture passages (These prayer notes come from Radical.Net a David Platt Site with some modifications by The Prayer Sentry; See also LINK AT THE END FOR ANSWERS TO PRAYER; Continue to pray.
Pray for the safety and protection of the Ukrainian citizens, military personnel and citizen patriots.
“God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)
Pray for Ukrainian government leaders, for European and U.S. leader’s decision making and guidance: for wisdom, courage and faith in God.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)
Pray for the displaced and orphaned children in the Ukraine.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)
Pray for Ukrainian church leaders as they care for the church members that are affected by this conflict.
“ … For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Pray for displaced missionaries as they seek to minister to those who remain in harm’s way.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Pray for the Ukrainian people to look to the gospel of Jesus Christ for hope during this challenging time.
“ … there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Pray for followers of Jesus in Ukraine to be a light for the gospel during this dark time.
“ … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Pray for God to put a stop to Russian aggression and to change Vladimir Putin’s plans in regard to Ukraine.
“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Brief Ukraine’s Political History
“Once one of the Soviet Union’s most fertile republics, Ukraine was a major producer of Europe’s wheat and a primary source of minerals such as coal and iron. The country’s rich, black soil generated more than 25% of the Soviet’s agricultural output. Since gaining its independence in 1991, the nation has struggled to take advantage of its economic potential and remains largely dependent on Russia for oil and gas. And while Ukraine has become a mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and customs, Ukrainians continue to be a very hospitable people.
During the seventy-one years of Soviet rule, Ukraine endured engineered famines in which an estimated eight million died. The government strictly limited attempts to develop Ukrainian culture, even forbidding the study and use of the Ukrainian language. The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 continues to inflict environmental damage, disease, and death. In 2013, after the government abandoned close trade ties with Europe for more favorable ties with Russia, massive protests began with hundreds of thousands in attendance.
When the government passed anti-protest laws, the protests escalated into deadly riots. Though these laws were later annulled, fighting and unrest continued across Ukraine, resulting in a civil war that has since taken thousands of lives. In the midst of this internal chaos, Russia annexed Crimea, adding further confusion to an already divided nation. Attempts at peace and reconciliation have been largely unsuccessful. In addition, the population suffers greatly from HIV/AIDS and alcoholism. Rampant drugs, crime, and prostitution enslave many of Ukraine’s most vulnerable, including orphans.
Ukraine’s Religious History
As the “Bible Belt” of the former Soviet world, the Ukrainian Church has faced a long history of persecution. Though freedom of religion is improving, it is not yet protected in both law and practice. Leadership training and direction are greatly needed among Christians, especially with the rapid growth of thousands of new congregations since 1991. Doctrinal schisms in the Orthodox church and divisions between Catholic and Protestant believers hinder their witness. The pain suffered under Soviet rule and during the most recent conflicts has greatly divided the Ukrainian people. But even amid recent violence, the Church has responded as the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting physical and spiritual needs. This has provided increased opportunities for Ukrainians to know and follow Christ.”
Respect and encourage church and spiritual leaders in our nation. #HasteMakesWaste #RespectMinistryLeaders
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Paul addresses three things that will lay waste to ministry leadership: Hastily conceived plans to remunerate qualified and faithful leaders according to their work, hastily contrived accusations against church leaders and the hastily conducted ordination of leaders unprepared to lead.
Every leader deserves to be treated fairly in every situation listed here. How important are these things? Paul calls it a “solemn command before God, Jesus and the highest angels.“ That’s serious! Lord may I always be a support and encouragement to church leaders.
May your heart be right with God and men as you pray (1Ti 2:8). #AttitudeMattersToPrayer #BeRightWithGodAndMen
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
How we come to God in prayer is as important to effective prayer as the prayer itself. Nothing will hinder our prayers more than praying with an unholy attitude – full of sin and self-righteousness (Psm 66:18; Mat 6:5).
Another hindrance to prayer is broken relationships with others – harboring anger, bitterness and unforgiveness towards others (Mat 5:23,24; 1Pe 3:7). Lord, may the heart of this old sentry be right with you and with others as I come to my post in prayer each day.
Make prayer for leaders your regular priority (1Ti 2:2-8). #PrayForLeaders
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
It is imperative and Scripturally mandated that we pray for those in authority over us; lift up holy hands to God being certain you are free of any anger or controversy:
“Pray this way for kings and for all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…I desire then that in every place men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1Ti 2:2,8 ESV)
Set aside personal time to pray for at least these twenty-three significant people. They have major influence in your life and the life of your community. If you do not know who they are, find out.
FOCUS: Intercede for these leaders by name (or substitute what is appropriate for where you live). Pray for their families and their moral integrity. Pray that God would provide a witness of faith and wisdom for these individuals. Pray for leadership and/or political integrity and transparency.
1. Senior Pastor _________________
2. President ______________
3. State US Senator ___________
4. State US Senator ___________
5. District U.S. Representative ___________________
6. State Governor _______________
7. State Senator _________________
8. State Representative _________
9. County Sheriff ______________
10. County Judge ______________
11. City Mayor __________________
12. City Council or County Representative/Commissioner_________________
13. Children’s School Superintendent ______________________
14. CEO/Head of the organization for whom you work _________________
15. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush, GW – 2005)
Develop a life of prayer and intercession (1Ti 2:1,2a). #PrayWithoutCeasing #PrayForAllMen #PrayForThoseInAuthority
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
This is a call to pursue the life of prayer – all kinds of prayer. Offer prayers of any general nature, making requests of God for any general need; expressing any desire before God. Offer prayers of a specific nature, interceding for oneself or for others; to interpose, to fall upon God with boldness. Intercession is highly specific and great earnestness. It is Heb 4:16 in action: “Come boldly before the throne of grace.”
Lift prayers and intercessions on behalf of all men with thanksgiving. Pray and intercede especially for rulers, leaders and all those in authority. What an honor to join Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who both intercede for all men (Heb 7:25; Rom 8:26). It is incumbent upon believers to develop a life of prayer and intercession.
Humbly, earnestly, seek God quickly for his help (Isa 65:1–5). #SeekGodEarly #NoTimeLikeNowToSeekGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Isaiah 65:1 answers the questions asked in the last verse of Chapter 64. “Lord, will you continue ignoring us? Will you keep on being silent and punishing us?“ The answer – God says, “I was [and always am] ready to respond…was [and am] ready to be found, B U T no one asked me for help nor went looking for me.“
So many Scriptures tell us that if we seek God, call out to him, he WILL be found (e.g.: Isa 55:6; Psm 34:4-6; Pro 8:17; 2Ch 15:2b; Jer 29:12-14). In Isa 65:3-5 God says, “All day I stand ready, arms wide open to those who will seek me. But…“ The problem? Man is too rebellious, arrogant, selfish and self-righteous (see also Jas 3:1-3). Lord, may it not be said of me that I was too arrogant and rebellious to stop and earnestly seek you for help.
May you know the vigilant heart of a “Watchmen“ [prayer sentry] (Isa 62:7).
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Those appointed “Watchmen“ [prophets, teachers, ministers] over Israel were not to be silent before the people (v6). Nor were they to be silent before God. But they were to be always vigilant in prayer (1Th 5:16). It was and is the duty and privilege of the “Watchmen“ to pray for the extension and glory of the kingdom of God to come.
Watchmen pray with such persistence as to give Jehovah no rest until the completion of the kingdom of God be established. I liken this vigilance as a watchman in prayer to those sentinel figures who stand watch 24/7 over the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. Lord I take my responsibility and privilege as a “Watchmen“ seriously and with sacred dedication.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in this blog:
The watchmen posted by God are to do their job of instructing the people; expressing God’s will in praise, thanksgiving, encouragement and warning. Silence is not an option. One role of the watchmen was to be a continual reminder to the people of the Lord God, so they might not forget God.
The voices of the watchmen, then and today (prophets, teachers and ministers of the most high God), were to be continually engaged with public prayer, praise and instruction. No silent sentries. Lord, this is my job: to speak FOR you into the lives of others and to speak TO you for the same.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in my blog:
God says, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will never keep silent.“ Barnes’ Notes indicate, “Watchmen were those who were appointed to be instructors of the people (Ezk 33:7)“ They were prophets, teachers and the like – especially the prophet.
These ministers among the people, then and now, hear, see and clearly and understand what the Lord says. They then give a clear expression of God’s word through praise, thanksgiving and words of encouragement or warning (according to the message). Such men and women of faith will always be watching, listening and crying out to God and to man.
Father, I am reminded of my Sentry Standing Orders given as the tag line on this blog:
Stand Faithfully, Watch Vigilantly, Pray Earnestly and Warn Clearly.
For an expanded reading on the role of the watchman see these links posted on this blog
Doubling down on prayer for Kenosha, WI. As a faithful and dutiful watchmen, with Isaiah, I will not rest from prayer in this matter. If it is good to pray for the city of Jerusalem, it is good to pray for Kenosha, good for America.
Hear the Rhyme Of The Watchmen:
“A watchman stands guard on the wall.
If there is trouble he’ll let out a call.
Though none be aware;
Still standth he there;
And his vigil secures one at all.“
Lord, my heart is provoked to stand watch in prayer over the city, over my beloved country.
“Because I love [this city, this country], I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Kenosha, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see— a splendid crown in the hand of God. O [Kenosha], I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. [They will] take no rest, who pray to the Lord. [May the Lord redeem you by his own strength].
Pray the Lord “will never hand [her] over to [her] enemies. [May no] foreign warriors come and take away [her business, economic and civic life]. [May she] be called [by the name], “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” [May she] be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City [never] Forsaken.””
What is God’s “Holy Mountain“ and how does one enter into that mountain? The “Holy Mountain“ of God is literally Mt Siniai (Mt Zion). It is the place where God spoke to Moses. Spiritually it is the heavenly Jerusalem, the place where the living God dwells. It represents the presence of God.
Who can enter into that holy place (Psm 15:1–5; 24:3)? the answer is, those who set themselves apart for God, who trust in God, who worship God with genuine sincerity and a contrite heart. What will one find in God’s “Holy Mountain”? The answer is, the presence of God, joy and the perpetual listening ear of God, who will hear and answer prayer. Oh, my Lord, may this old sentry be found worthy to daily enter into your “Holy Mountain.“
Isaiah 40–48 is concerned with the future hope of Israel being restored by the Persian king, Cyrus; after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Isaiah 49–55 is concerned with the future hope of all men in the coming Redeemer-shepherd: Christ, the Messiah.
Here God reminds all Israel, #1) their calamity was not due to the caprice hand of God. No. It was, #2) due to their own sin. They sold themselves into slavery. #3) in their captivity to come Israel will ask, “Where is our God? Has he no power to save?“ God answers, “Oh, I have the power, but not the will to save. I see Lord, that my disobedience will lead to my discipline, my judgment, without remedy. Until you are ready save.
Lord, may the heart of the sentry stay surrendered to you.
May your spiritual passion for relationship with God be restored (Acts 2:42–47). #PassionForGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The new Christians in Acts DEVOTED themselves to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, worship, prayer and witness. They were DEVOTED, PASSIONATE, in these things. These are the things I too ought to be passionate about. But somehow I lose my passion. I get complacent and/or apathetic. I lose my passion when the things I do become rote or mechanical. Things become all too familiar.
What is passion? Passion means “to be moved,” by something. “Spiritual Passion” means to be moved by God. To lose my passion is to no longer be moved by God. I become distracted by all the mechanics and preparations to teach, fellowship, worship, pray or witness. Or, I am just distracted by all the mechanics of life and living. Lord, I desperately need a recalibration of my focus on knowing you. I need to focus on you, not as a means to an end, but focus on you as the end itself.
Lord, reignite the flame of spiritual passion in this old sentry.
I’m a retired minister; past the 3/4 century mark. I’m a member of a great church with a truly missions and discipleship heart. I heard a young minister preach not long ago in our pulpit. He closed his message with a terrific illustration having to do with sports. He said that many sit in the boxed seats and stands and cheer their team on. But they are not in uniform and they are not in the game.
For some time now I have been sidelined for reasons I shall not get into here. They are things that have committed me to be at home pretty much 24//7. While I’m happy to fulfill this particular call, I have felt at times like I’m not in uniform, not in the game like I used to be. So, as the young minister was closing the service with his sports illustration, I struggled with what he was saying. I was thinking, “Lord, I’m unable to play the game (carry the ball, run the bases, interact with the players) like I used to do.” I felt conflicted.
Then the Lord reminded me that I have had, for many years, a heart for intercession (this blog speaks to that). The Lord spoke to me and said, “Dude, you’re still in uniform and you’re still on the field, in the game. You’ve been carrying the water in prayer for decades. That desire has intensified in recent years. You’re carrying the water in prayer now more than ever.” I felt affirmed by the Lord.
My final thought in that service was this: Every team has a “Waterboy.” The waterboy is in the game, part of the game and he wears the team jersey. He carries out his role like the rest of his teammates. What the Lord was saying to me was this: I, like the waterboy, am carrying the water (intercession) for my team (God’s team). I’m in uniform and faithfully doing the job I was asked to do.
I walked out of that service thinking, I am on the field, honored to be a waterboy. No box seat for me. I’m still in uniform and in the game. So, “Thank you Lord, for my job. I’m honored to be Carryin’ The Water.”
“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*
When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*
America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).
Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.
America – can we not see with our own eyes and hear with her own ears what is right? How long shall we refuse righteousness and ignore what is right before our own eyes and ears?
If God did not withhold judgment on his own people, Israel, how will he not withhold judgment on the nations that reject and ignore him? America has turned her back on God. She, like Israel of old, is the target of God’s fury…yet she refuses to understand. She refuses to learn her lessons.
Consider just the past 18 months: COVID pandemic, “George Floyd “– riots, grotesque racial division among us, out of control forest fires, inflation that threatens our economy, earthquakes claiming thousands of lives, inept national leadership foisted upon us and the demise of our national/international honor, pride and global influence.
Father, open the eyes of this great nation to your love, mercy and forgiveness. May she repent while there is still time and turn back to you. Begin by breaking the heart of this old sentry, Lord!
The Lord is calling me to temporarily step away from my post as a prayer sentry.
For many years I have come daily to my Morning Watch post, to read God’s word, to consider His ways and his message. Then to write, to journal my thoughts and to pray in earnest for the many souls in my books of prayer.
“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” – Psalms 45:1 NKJV
Although I struggle to set aside the duty of my post, the Lord reminds me that he himself had to take times away from the crowds to find refreshment. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”–Luke 5:15-16 . This is not the first time the Lord has led me in such a way.
When I served in Vietnam it was required that every soldier take a time of respite. So a short leave from the rigors of battle was not just granted but required. The purpose was to refresh and renew.
So for the next month or so I will take this sabbatical time to seek the Father, to refresh my soul in Him who loves me and to find renewal for my sometimes weary heart.
I will not quit praying for my family, my friends and my country. I’m just temporarily stepping away from the regimens I normally follow.
Everyone has concerns. But Paul teaches us to not be over anxious to the point of distraction by our concerns. Instead, turn your problems into prayer projects. The Message Bible says it well: “Let PETITIONS [requests, appeals to God] and PRAISES [applause, thanks to God] shape your worries into prayers letting God know your concerns.“
When I make this my daily practice I discover that God begins to redirect my thoughts, allowing his peace to settle in. I have found the Lord Jesus to be always a faithful eternal sentinel standing guard over my heart and mind. Father, I put my daily concerns into your capable and trustworthy hands. Semper Fi!
Jesus Christ is the supreme example of humility. He was the Son of God. He did not surrender his deity to become a man…He set aside his rights as deity. He willingly put the needs of humanity for salvation ahead of his own rights as deity. Paul says we ought to have this same attitude towards others.
To set aside our rights in favor of another’s is not looking down on ourselves as somehow inferior. It is to simply put others first, out of genuine love for them and NOT demand our rights first. It is a choice we make. [What would America look like if everyone did that?] Father, may I honor you in my choices to serve others.
Paul knows his release from prison is possible, but not a “slam dunk” (v27a). So he encourages the Philippian church to make their conduct becoming, as they are citizens of Heaven. They represent the Gospel of Christ. No matter the circumstances, they should stand united in faith. They should not be intimidated by those who deride them and the entire cause of Christ.
Your life and witness is a challenge to the pagan culture around you. It serves to reveal that the enemies of the cross will be destroyed and believers will be vindicated, both by God himself. You can take that to the bank! So stand firm as Kingdom citizens. Lord, may This old sentry stand faithful and be found worthy of the Kingdom in the face of persecution and difficult times.
Seated here in my quiet place, in the early morning watch, it is difficult for me to grasp the conflict in Paul’s spirit. Words and emotions escape me. I am challenged even to write. The brokenness of Paul’s thought patterns serve only to express his inward desire to glorify Christ, whether he lives or whether he dies. Such a deep state of faith I can only imagine.
Paul is in prison and will be on trial for his life. His thoughts move from his imminent martyrdom to emotions expressing great exultation (it cannot be exaggerated) and rejoicing that he will be released. That he will see these beloved believers again is not assumed but expected. When they see him they will be doubly encouraged in their growth and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, may the state of my faith be deep enough to glorify you whether in life or death.
Paul’s state of mind (his joy) is not tied at all to his circumstances. The entire weight of his well-being rests on two immutable facts: prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These will lead to his deliverance.
Paul believes wholeheartedly in the efficacy and potency of prayer; his own prayer, but also that of others for him. Paul also believes in the sovereign, providential leadership of the Holy Spirit as he walks with God.
God can do whatever he desires, but he chooses to work through his people. He invites us to come, counsel with him, talk with him and then walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). This will lead to our deliverance and his glory. Lord, I can do nothing short of taking you at your word. I will pray. You will listen and you will guide.