Jesus taught:

Watch at all times, praying that you will have strength to escape all these things that will take place.  Luke 21:36

There is a watchman that sits alongside a small lake that I pass frequently.

Riding along the bike trail, I have seen him for years sitting with binoculars watching the lake. On a bike, I do not stop. But I’ve been walking this trail recently and I stopped yesterday.

I asked him what he was watching. That’s me, asking questions.

A legitimate question I think, as he has been sitting and watching the same lake with binoculars – for years! What is he watching?!!! His answer? Basically everything. Birds, people, animals, and those on bikes – including me.

He had been watching me for years as I passed by!

The focal point of our conversation became a white swan – a solitary swan – that I and many others see, spectacularly white, swimming in the middle of the pond.

Our conversation:

“The swan hasn’t been here since two weeks before Thanksgiving,” he said.

I asked, “Do you think it flew away?”

His answer, “It has been in the lake for seven years, and it rarely flies.”

My question, “What happened to it?”

His answer, “Coyote, I think. Two years ago, it had blood on its wing. I think the swan escaped back then, but not this time.”

1 Peter 5:8:

Be wary and watch, your adversary prowls around considering who he is going to attack.

My wife hates coyotes. She rarely speaks words of anger, except when mentioning coyotes. She says, “They’re demonic.” Her thoughts about coyotes began when she heard they stalk and eat cats.

An unexpected direction, this Interruptions – coyotes, missing swan, stalked cats, and the devil prowling about! My theory about praying: the more we watch and pray, the more this unpleasantness will be eliminated from our lives.

When Christians ask me why God doesn’t answer their prayers, I ask them about how they pray, and my investigation too often reveals that they really haven’t been praying.  Perhaps a momentary gasp of a prayer in an emergency, but nothing planned with research, Bible knowledge, notebooks, and discipline.

Jeremiah 62:6-7:

Surrounding your territory; for your families, in your church, within your city, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they never rest or keep silent.  You who profess the Lord, take no rest for yourselves, and give God no rest until He establishes His kingdom bringing peace, healing, and revival in your church, for your families, and for Springfield, Ohio. (OGV)

I admit the Jeremiah 62 Old Guy Version above is a very loose translation as the verses refer to Jerusalem and the intercession necessary for God to restore the City of David as an object of praise on the earth.

However, the implication of inherent principle (a rule of interpretation) means that what God’s desires for righteousness and blessing in Jerusalem can be applied to our lives, families, and communities.

Watching in the Bible does not mean simple observing or an occasional glance out the window to be followed by a gasp when you actually see a prowler. Watching is active warfare to protect our territory.

God says to Ezekiel in chapter 3:

I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, warn them… if you do not warn them and the wicked die, the blood I will require from your hand.  

Coyotes, watchmen, blood on your hands, swans, cats, families, grandchildren, church, city, nation – who are the watchmen? If not you, then who?

Ephesians 6:18:

With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints.