Watch and Pray

George Washington praying before going into Battle at Valley Forge, painted by Arnold Friberg

Watch and pray (Matthew 26:41).

Many years ago I worked as a manager of a real estate company. One of our very successful agents was an elderly man who had spent much of his life in the mountains of Arkansas. Virgil had been raised in a Baptist church and knew a few things about the Bible, but he didn’t know the Bible.

Once in a while he’d have a prospective buyer of a piece of land or a house, but when it came to making a decision the purchaser would hesitate. The person would say he needed to pray about it before committing to anything. Virgil told me the people always seemed so pious that he expected a halo to appear over their heads, but he knew it was either an excuse for indecision or a polite way of saying “no.”

Without missing a beat, Virgil would get up, move the furniture out of the way, get down on his knees and bow in front of the chair. The prospective buyer, befuddled, would ask what Virgil was doing. He’d answer, “If you need to pray about it, let’s do it right now!Not one person ever got down to pray with Virgil.

How often we act like those people and use prayer as a polite excuse to dilly-dally around. Don’t misunderstand me. Prayer is vital to the life of the Christian … as long as it’s real prayer. Prayer is how you talk to God; He talks to you through the pages of Holy Scripture. And when you’re done praying, you’d better be ready to do something.

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray. Whatever the issue is, pray and be ready to act! The spiritual life begins on your knees but always turns to marching orders.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).


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