Standing by Night in the House of the Lord
The call to the NightWatch is a call to extravagant devotion. It is the Lord’s desire to raise up a people who will love Him in the night. On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, the hour of judgment and salvation, He found no one to stand with Him. But in the final hours of history—the time of escalated judgment and salvation—who will tarry with Him through the night?
The NightWatch Lifestyle is a Form of Fasting
The NightWatch is a unique context for prayer which facilitates a lifestyle of voluntary weakness. By its very nature, the NightWatch creates the opportunity to engage with the Lord in a focused way by limiting distractions and extracurricular activity.
The basic principle of the fasted lifestyle is to embrace weakness in exchange for divine strength. Divine strength is what sustains the yearnings of the human heart; it gives us energy to pursue the true and eternal desires the Lord placed within us.
The NightWatch calls for a lifestyle change that can make life uncomfortable because it is a social and physical fast. Physical tiredness is a hallmark of the NightWatch. If we pay close attention to our body, we will notice that some of the same things experienced during a food fast may be experienced during the NightWatch. We want to be people who embrace the NightWatch as a fast.
The One Thing Needed: Communing with God
“Behold, bless the LORD . . . by night” is a call to a contemplative lifestyle in which we spend our lives before the Lord (Ps. 134:1; Lk. 10:42). By contemplative lifestyle we mean deep communion with God. Just like everything else in the kingdom, our first call in the NightWatch is to love the Lord. He is calling us to the “one thing needed”—the primary thing. Deep communion with God is to be our preoccupation in the night, whether in worship, intercession, or service.
There are three “one thing” passages found in Scripture.
- Psalm 27:4: One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple. Desire defined: The one thing humanity desires is to see beauty, and the only beauty that will satisfy is the beauty of the Lord. We are created with a thirst for the eternal.
- Luke 10:42: One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Desire satisfied: Desire is satisfied as we sit at His feet and let Him kiss us with the kisses of His Word and unfold the pleasure of His divine love to us (Song 1:2).
- Philippians 3:13: One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The journey of desire: It calls us to set a marathon pace.
How to Build Prayer Watches in the Night
Having one monthly or weekly meeting is a great way to start. We suggest starting small and strong and allowing it to gain momentum. Try meeting from 10:00pm–2:00am with the intention of eventually continuing until 6:00am.