This article is an excerpt from The Hidden Power of Watching and Praying by Drs. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda. You will not want to miss this essential key to the release of apostolic power for these last days.
When we wake up to harmony with Heaven through a life of unceasing prayer, we make contact with the throne from which all things temporary and eternal flow. More than that, we begin a duet with the One who sits in that throne and holds all things together by the word of His power. Our simple, ordinary lives become extraordinary as He invites us into a participating role that reaches beyond our private lives. When we pray "Your Kingdom come," we are praying Heaven down to earth.
The first thing we recognize about God's Kingdom is His absolute supremacy and power as Lord over all. When we pray, "Your Kingdom come," we are making ourselves His subjects. That means we acquiesce to become the servants of His will and plan.
When we pray, "Your Kingdom come," we are moving from passive to aggressive. We become the violent ones who advance the Kingdom by force of His power. "From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12).
Those who watch in prayer are going back to the origin of humankind and, as the offspring of the Last Adam, they are resuming the high call of being created in God's image. Watchers accept and take up again the charge to tend and watch the garden of God while uprooting the garden of satan, which is in chaos and darkness. It was God's original intention that the garden He planted be tended by the man made in His image. But failing the command to watch as well as tend, Adam and his wife fell to temptation.
This failure is echoed in Jesus' words to His disciples in Gethsemane, where He told them to watch and pray lest they also fall into temptation to desert and betray Him. Had the first watchman (Adam) been vigilant, he would have grabbed the devil by the scruff of his slimy neck during that fatal controversy with Eve, and tossed him out of the garden on his ear!
Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the world when God gave him a revelation of the true King as he lay in his bed one night. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he saw that there are spiritual realities conducting spiritual activities that are invisible to the naked eye. He saw watchers, majestic messengers of Heaven, bringing decrees from the throne of God that concerned the kingdoms of this earth:
"I saw in visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from Heaven. He cried aloud and said thus...
"'This decision is by decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.'" (Daniel 4:13,14,17)
The watcher told the king that his sovereignty would be removed until he recognized God rules over the realm of mankind and sets up rulers as He wishes. When Nebuchadnezzar heard the decree he realized he was not in charge. He also learned that holy messengers participate in administering the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
The Church enters into that work as, one by one, our hearts are awakened to fulfill our priestly ministry together as intercessors. In these latter days, the Church has become the chosen vessel to carry the Kingdom to the earth.
The main activity immediately coupled with Jesus' first mention of the Church is authority to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth through the activity of prayer!
Jesus said, "On this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." The word that Jesus used in this first mention of the Church is the Greek word, ekklesia. It literally means "the called out ones." In that day and age, this was the term used to denote the governing authority, those called out to judge and govern the people. This is where we get the idea that the Church is not just an assembly of people, but also a ruling Body of Believers, founded on the revelation that the Rock, Jesus Christ, to whom and through whom all authority in Heaven and earth has been given, reigns and rules on the earth.
The main activity immediately coupled with Jesus' first mention of the Church is authority to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth through the activity of prayer, "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 16:19).
The Church is the vehicle through which God advances His Kingdom. Prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel are the means by which we will prevail. "Now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10).
What we see on Pentecost is the glory and presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and the context in which He appears is in the corporate gathering of the Church, watching and praying in one accord. The Church born under the heel of a pagan society, opposed by the might of the Roman Empire, and powerless in its own right, this small band of 120, began to vibrate with the power and glory of the Kingdom and turned the kingdoms of the world upside down in a matter of generations. They accomplished this through corporate watching together in prayer.
In the early Church the power of the corporate Body watching and praying in one accord was the key to the release of what we define as the apostolic ministry: preaching the Gospel with signs, wonders and miracles.
We find that many people want to be part of an apostolic church. They say, "We are apostolic." And yet, they don't give much attention to the Scriptures such as the ones in which Paul the apostle (who is a type of an apostolic church) wrote: "I proved myself with fastings often, in watchings often" (see 2 Corinthians 11:26-28). People don't want to know the part of the apostolic package that involves fasting and watching. Of course, when Paul talks about watchings, it is in the context of watching and praying.
Part of the apostolic release of the end-time Church, we believe, will be a grace for watching in prayer. Signs and wonders and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are there for us, but they come in the context of the preached word and standing in intercession for our families, our churches, our cities. We must learn to be watchmen. God calls the people of the Church to become watchmen on the walls and the more corporate we become, the better it is. There is more power in corporate watching and praying.
We find an extraordinary example of this in the story of Peter's miraculous release from prison in Acts 12: "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the Church" (Acts 12:5). Peter's plight was dire, but notice that he was not praying—he was sleeping. It was the Spirit-filled Church that had the mission, through prayer and prayer alone, to rescue him from this perilous situation. They understood that they had access to a Kingdom authority that was greater than any held by the earthly and spiritual rulers of that age.
The Church engaged in constant, watching prayer. They were a picture of apostolic prayer: fervent, continuous, unswayed by circumstances or disappointments, prevailing until the victory is won.
Apostolic Prayer will Move Heaven and Earth, Releasing Angels to Hearken to His Word
They did not pray a few hours one day, but a long time. It says they offered "constant prayer." By the time of Peter's rescue, they may have been engaged for several if not many days of prayer already. Even in the middle of the night, there were some who were gathered together in watching prayer for Peter's life. After days and nights of constant prayer, suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and the prison cell was filled with a bright light. Apostolic prayer will move Heaven and earth, releasing angels to hearken to His Word.
The angel, who had just come from the very presence of God, carried the Shekinah glory of that presence when he came. This glory-light is equation-changing. We've seen it and experienced it. It's alive. It comes from the Presence, from Heaven. And it changes the equations on earth when it arrives. When we pray, "Your Kingdom come," we are inviting Heaven's light to shine into the darkness.
Deliverance comes in the glory light. The angel struck Peter to wake him up, and his chains fell off. In the same way, our corporate, fervent prayers will loose chains of iniquity, injustice, darkness, and oppression and release captives to freedom. The account also gives us a picture of the power of prayer to loose the Church to her destiny, a Church bound by religion, humanism, and principalities of this age; chained between soldiers, imprisoned by iron gates, but set free by prayer.
Peter was led by the angel through the gates and past the guard posts. The city gate opened of its own accord. Jesus, you will remember, said that He was going to build His Church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (see Matthew 16:17). No matter what the enemy has thrown at you, no matter what gates of iron may seem to block your path, this is the promise to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Corporate watching prayer is God's awesome secret weapon. Personal devotion, personal praise and prayer are powerful, but the corporate Body harmonizing in prayer and apostolic intercession releases authority to see cities taken overnight. I believe the end-time believing Church is on a rescue operation for millions of souls. We are on a rescue operation for our nation to come into revival. We are on a rescue operation for all the members of our family to be saved. We are on a rescue operation to see signs and wonders and the greater works restored to His Church, to confirm the Gospel message.
"What I Say to You, I Say to All: Watch!" Mark 13:37
Jesus went, "as was His custom," up to the mountain to pray during the night watches (see Luke 22:39). Apparently, He usually would take with Him two or three of His watchmen friends, most often James, John, and Peter. Watching was commanded by God in keeping with the observance of Passover. That is where the spiritual concept originates. Jesus kept this observance as a regular way of prayer. It was this kind of prayer, prayer to effect salvation for the world, which caught the imagination of Jesus' closest friends.
As they watched His style they said, "Teach us." We are learning from the Master, who told us to keep vigil with Him. We are taking back the night. We are reclaiming the territory formerly possessed by the early Church, prevailing in corporate prayer. While the world sleeps, the watchmen are awake, routing the enemy, delivering the captives, and taking away the spoils of his kingdom.
"Your Kingdom come," the prayer of the apostolic Church, is a corporate expression. Individually and corporately we stretch ourselves out in prayer in a posture of expectation until Christ comes. We will fulfill what Jesus asked when He said in the Gospels, "What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" (Mark 13:37).
The final amen to all Christian praying from the days of those first apostles onward is the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. All Christian prayer prevails in the expectation of His appearing. We are praying toward the consummation of His will, which is His Kingdom established and a new Heaven, a new earth, filled with His new creation.
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda
Mahesh Chavda Ministries
About Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda: Drs. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda have served together in full time ministry for over thirty years, reaching the nations with the Gospel accompanied by signs and wonders. Hundreds of thousands have come to salvation and thousands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer through their ministry. Many of these miracles have been medically documented, including healings of Stage IV cancer, the lame, deaf and blind as well as the resurrection from the dead of a six-year-old boy. Through the The Watch television program produced by Mahesh Chavda Ministries, Mahesh and Bonnie reach a potential audience of a billion households every week with the saving message of Jesus and are equipping Believers to walk in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Translated into Arabic and Farsi, The Watch is broadcast to 300 million households across the Middle East, and making a deep impact on nations within this critical region of the 10/40 window.
In addition, Mahesh and Bonnie have produced many useful tools for Believers including their books, Only Love Can Make a Miracle, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, The Hidden Power of a Woman, Storm Warrior and their latest book, The Hidden Power of Watching and Praying. Together, the Chavdas pastor All Nations Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia. They also spearhead a global prayer movement, The Watch of the Lord™, where they have been leading their congregation in weekly corporate prayer for more than a decade.