Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Nightwatch

   The soft whimpering from the crib interrupts my deep slumber. I roll over sleepily and look at the clock ; 1:50am. "I'm so tired. Father, I'm so tired. It was after 12:00 till I got her settled." My thoughts form a jumbled cry heavenward as I try to waken enough to get to baby's crib. Her cries have increased in volume. I must get her quickly before she disturbs her sleeping 18month old sister.
    I wearily lift my little one and sink into the rocker beside the bed. Her fretfull cries turn to contented sighs and sucking. "Oh, you sweetie". I find my weariness melting away. "Father, thank you, for this precious baby girl. Thank you for her health. Help me be the mother she needs. Give me wisdom to guide her to You."
   My thoughts have turned to prayer once again. "Lord, thank you for all of our children. Draw them to yourself." My thoughts and prayers turn to our oldest struggling with adolescence and to my youngest brother fighting the allure of the world. My mind goes to his friends. I pray for their struggles and thank God for the victories.
    Baby's sucking has stopped. I'm brought back to the present. She is asleep. As I place her gently in her crib, I realize I don't feel nearly as weary now. The time has passed quickly as I spent most of the time in prayer. I realize that happened a lot of nights.
    Then God showed me a picture of all the mommies across the world, awake with their babies and....praying.
     My baby often wakes every couple hours. My sister's baby wakes around 4 am. Another friend has a newborn who rarely settles before midnight. All across the land there are mommies awake with their babies and somewhere else, in the dark of the night, someone has a need.
   My mind began to grasp a beautiful provision for intercessory prayer.
    Through out the Bible we see the role of the watchman, who watches while other sleep, to warn of danger and keep guard against the enemy. The New Testament warns us to watch and pray against the spiritual enemy.
    Spiritual warfare doesn't sleep. It is even more intense during the dark hours of the night. The demons of hell love the cloak of darkness. Many battles are fought at night when no one sees and no one knows.
    Somewhere, every hour through the night, the struggle is real:
 It's midnight, a young man lingers on the street corner, feeling the pull behind the neon lights.
12:30, a Mother and Father anxiously watch for the headlights of a wayward son.
1:00, a Father tosses and turns mentally calculating and re-calculating the figures that just don't add up.
1:30, a rebellious daughter, suitcase in hand, hesitates at the open window.
2:00, the blood-curdling snarl of a drug addict, somebody's child, echoes through the abandoned warehouse.
3:00, a tormented soul pulls a revolver from the drawer and slides  the safety off.
3:30, a young mother weeps while bathing the feverish brow of her child.
4:00, an invalid wakes in pain, yet again.
5:00, a pastor rises early, burdened with the souls in his care.
6:00, a widow awakens to an empty pillow beside her and anguish washes over her once again.
    What if all the mommies were praying?
     I have often been blessed to be part of a 24 hour prayer chain. Now I realize I have the opportunity to be part of God's 24 hour prayer chain.
     Two scriptures in Ezekiel and Isaiah, haunt me with their need and questions.
     Israel was in turmoil, giving into the influences of evil around them and destined for judgement. God needed someone to stand for right and save the people from destruction. He says, "I sought for a man among them to make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me...but I found none." Ezek. 22:30
    Where were the intercessors ? Where are they today?
     In the account of the destruction of Sodom when Abraham pled for Lot, the words stand out, " ...and Abraham stood yet before the Lord." Never underestimate the power of that.
    In Isaiah, again God's people were in chaos, beset by the enemy. The call goes forth, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?"! I feel the urgency of that question today. Are there watchmen who watch and know?
     Jeremiah says, "Make the watch strong, set up the watchman."
Again in Isaiah God says, "I have set watchman which shall never hold their peace day or night."
In Lamentations again, " Arise, cry out in the night, in the beginning of the watches, pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward him for the life of thy young children..."
     All across the land, Mothers, you are awake with your baby.     Are you praying? Are you crying out?
     What a responsibility! What a privilege!
Mommies, the night watch is ours!