The Glory of the NightWatch
by Stuart Greaves
Night-and-day prayer is a divine initiative born in God’s holy heart. The Holy Spirit is raising up a global prayer movement to prepare the earth for His return. The increase of night-and-day prayer in the Church across the nations is a prophetic indicator of what lies ahead in redemptive history: the unique end-time activity of God in the nations (Isaiah 42:10–13; Revelation 5:8, 8:3–5). This is happening within the Church as she enters more fully into her identity as a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7).
24/7 prayer is not just about keeping a schedule. Rather, I believe it is a response to the greatness and majesty of God. Because His greatness is unsearchable, it only makes sense for our worship of Him to be unending. Isaiah prophesied that there would be watchmen who would stand before the Lord night and day and ask Him for His purposes in the earth and ultimately the nation of Israel (Isaiah 62:6–7). God is divinely setting watchmen, prophetic singers, musicians, intercessors, and gatekeepers on the wall of prayer in advance of what He’s about to do.
After David became king, he set up a worship tent (or tabernacle) with a staff of 4000 full-time paid musicians, 288 singers, and 4000 gatekeepers. Various forms of Davidic worship existed
throughout Israel under later kings. Monasteries throughout Europe and the Middle East raised up expressions of day-and-night prayer in the Middle Ages. Other believers, such as the Moravians in Germany, entered into this call in more recent centuries. In the last two decades in particular, 24/7 prayer is increasing in the church throughout the earth. I believe that the Holy Spirit is going to give us more understanding of the importance of raising up full-time occupational prophetic singers and musicians in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.
In Hebrews 11 the writer gives a list of heroes of the faith, men and women who believed for the purposes of God in their generation. One of the expressions of faith in Hebrews 11 that can be easily overlooked is the faith of Noah. The faith of Noah has real relevance to us today because Jesus describes the generation of His return as the days of Noah. What was the faith of Noah? The faith of Noah was that he actually believed God was going to do something in human history that He had never ever done before. In other words, God was going to do something unprecedented. Prior to that warning it had never rained in the earth before. This idea that water was coming from the sky and that it would flood the earth was completely and entirely unheard of.
The faith of Noah is a faith that connects the believer with the unprecedented activity of the end times. There are at least 150 chapters in the Bible that describe the return of Jesus in detail. It is unprecedented what these passages are telling us. It requires the faith of Noah to believe that God is going to do what He said He is going to do, even though it has never ever happened before. The faith of Noah believes in the release of God’s unprecedented activities while living in times of relative normalcy and mundaneness. It is in this expression of faith that the divine warnings become increasingly more real to us even though everything around us tells us there is not really a whole lot going on.
What does it mean to have this faith? Number one, it means coming into agreement with what God says. Number two, we engage Him in regard to what He says. In other words, we talk to Him about the unprecedented information He’s giving us about the future. Thirdly, we respond to it—it begins to change the way that we think and feel and the way that we live.
Night-and-day and prayer is a practical expression of the faith of Noah. Specifically, the raising up of the NightWatch (those who pray through the night from midnight to 6am) is a witness that there is something unprecedented happening in the nations of the earth. In the parable of the ten virgins which Jesus told to describe His return, He says, “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'” (Matthew 25:6). And Paul refers to the end of human history as the night and the coming of the day as the inbreaking of the next age (Romans 13:12).
The presence of the NightWatch points to the cry emerging at the end of natural history for Jesus to return. It’s also a call to cast off all works of darkness and come to full agreement with the truth. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor light.” (Romans 13:12). In other words, there is an eschatological expectation associated with the night. It prophesies to us about God’s purposes to bring His Son back to earth. The NightWatch is a picture of the end-time church longing for the Lord and inquiring concerning the time of great end-time shaking, which includes God’s judgments (Isaiah 21:11–12; 26:9).
It should be noteworthy to us that in our day the Lord has sovereignly established multiple NightWatches across the earth, including in our very own prayer room in Kansas City, which has been going non-stop since September of 1999. The NightWatch is difficult to sustain, and yet it is one hundred percent necessary to having day-and-night prayer. It is critical to the completion of the 24-hour prayer cycle. Without the NightWatch, there is no 24/7 prayer.
Psalm 134 is believed to be a song that was sung by the daytime to strengthen the night. It is significant that the Lord, the author of Scripture, would dedicate a chapter to the call to stand by night. The NightWatch is a call to interdependence—where the Lord issues strength through the community. The NightWatch cannot function properly without support from the entire community. I believe the Lord is calling many of us to join, fund, and support those who are praying and watching in the night, crying out for the Lord’s justice and soon return. There are many ways to do this, including in IHOPKC’s prayer room in Kansas City.
As the Lord’s return grows ever nearer, would you ask Him what your role is in strengthening or joining with day-and-night prayer? We’re not all called to do the NightWatch physically (although many of us are, if even for a season) but all of us can support, pray for, and even fund those who are called to stand in the night as prophetic witnesses to the Lord’s purposes.
How can you support the NightWatch in your area or in Kansas City?
To learn more about the significance of the NightWatch, we recommend Stuart’s message The Glory of the NightWatch which was the basis for this blog. Watch part one here >>
- Executive Director, IHOPKC
Stuart Greaves leads the Executive Leadership Team of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. He has been part of IHOPKC since 1999. For 20 years, Stuart led the NightWatch—the section of the Global Prayer Room which goes from midnight to 6am every night. Stuart is recognized as one of the primary teachers at IHOPKC and International House of Prayer University (IHOPU). He teaches verse by verse through various books of the Bible. His passion is to equip people to cultivate intimacy by growing in their understanding of the beauty of Jesus and to engage in worship and prayer for the great harvest along with partnering with the Lord as He prepares the Church to be a ready Bride (Rev. 19:7). He has been married to Esther for 25 years.