Prayerfully Watching the Signs of the Times


“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

Did you know that there are 22 signs of the time when Jesus will return to earth? You can find them in Matthew 24-25. Jesus is not wordy in what He tells us, but with precision He carefully picks what He shares. Isn’t it quite amazing that He spent two whole chapters telling us about the end times? It was a monumental teaching.

The last generation won’t pass away until these signs have taken place. Some of them have taken place before, but in the generation when Jesus returns to earth, every one of these signs will be happening. This is biblical information that we must know, study, and observe because God is warning us in advance. We must be aware of the season and take this seriously. Studying the end times will be an anchor in our lives and will help us to know how to maneuver through difficult days. We must be prepared and not let our hearts get discouraged as the days grow darker, but seek to understand what Jesus is saying.

Let’s look at the Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:32-34, because in his teaching Jesus is shifting to a pastoral exhortation on how to live and respond in the end times. A parable is an illustration or story that sheds light on the spiritual truth so that it is easy to grasp. The word “learn” is in this parable three times and means to be intentional. We must set our heart towards understanding the end times because it takes a determined effort.

We must learn watchfulness. When the branch is tender with leaves you know it is summer. These are time indicators so we can know what is coming. If we think about a thunderstorm, the dark clouds show us that we must be watchful because it is approaching. If we don’t run inside, we will get wet.

My grandfather did not take heed when a thunderstorm approached his Minnesota farm one warm summer evening. He was out on his tractor with his two sons when a terrible thunderstorm hit their land. A bolt of lightning suddenly struck him causing everyone to fly off the tractor. That bolt of lightning took his life when my father was only a young boy at the age of 13. It was sudden and swift. There was no longer time to run inside. Earlier there was the need to take heed and be watchful regarding those dark clouds, but my grandfather continued working and took his chances that all would be ok. But it wasn’t, and my father grew up until the age of 94 without a father.

Mt. 24:5-31, show us through the signs of the times that the day of the Lord is near and that we must take this seriously. We can’t be out in a thunderstorm when things suddenly change. We see in this parable important indicators of His coming, so that we can prepare in advance. Every calamity in biblical history was prophesized ahead of time. Look at the Flood, Egypt, the fall of Israel, and the others.

God is giving us insight into the generation when the Lord returns. He is warning us that the coming of the Lord is near, and is exhorting us to watch because we don’t know the hour. The Father only exclusively knows the day and the hour. He is reasserting the importance of the signs to be a predictor of his coming. We must prayerfully watch for the signs. The increasing of these 22 signs that have been promised for over 2000 years clearly point to the season of His return.

We can compare this with the days of Noah when people are drinking and having a good time. There was rebellion. We must realize two important truths. The world will not recognize these prophetic signs of the times, and they will be apathetic and live as they always lived. But remember Noah and how the flood suddenly came. Judgment was swift. God prophesizes for ages about it, but the fulfillment was sudden. It will happen quickly, just like the strike of lightning was for my grandfather.

Like in Noah’s day, many today are more concerned about the world, but we are not to let our hearts be weighed down by all its’ cares. It’s a snare to catch us by surprise if we are not prepared.

“For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:38).

How to Apply the Parable of the Fig Tree

God wants us to prepare our hearts. Here are some ways we can prayerfully watch:

  • Learn from the parable of the fig tree and Matthew 24-25 – Know that these 22 signs will take place in the generation the Lord returns.
  • When you see the storm clouds approaching, seek to understand and line up your heart with God’s truth.
  • Watch for the signs of the times in a spirit of prayer and reverence.
  • Take heart and set to diligently study all the Scriptures about the end times.
  • Be careful of the seriousness of deception in the end times.
  • Know that these are times that God has ordained for the fulfillment of His purposes on earth.
  • Know that this will be a special time for God’s people and that the beauty of Jesus will be revealed in a glorious way.
  • Seek to keep your heart at peace.

Let’s realize that in the darkest of hours, those who are prepared will shine brightly. Studying about the end times has helped me to understand, prepare my heart, and live above the storm. Let’s be prepared by carefully studying, prayerfully watching, and radically living for eternity. Let’s set our minds and hearts on things above.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International


Learn to Watch and Pray in 2017

946444_1077690778960695_8044411060511755856_n“A watchman on the wall does many things. He carefully watches what is happening and alerts the community when good ambassadors approach the city… A watchman also warns the city far in advance when an enemy approaches. He sounds an alarm to awaken the people because he knows ‘to forewarn them is to alert and arm them.’ Then they quickly can rally to take their stand on the wall against the enemy before he wrongfully tries to enter into the city.” James Goll

We are now at a gate, a place where we have to face the reality of the days we are living in. We can stay where we are and do nothing or we as Christians can rise up, prioritize united, watchful prayer and come to a new door of opportunity—a place of advancement—a pathway to enlargement and harvest. Nation after nation is facing feelings of uncertainty, fear, and hopelessness. But you and I can rise up at this very time with the greatest weapon of all, prayer, and see God do mighty, supernatural things right in our midst. God can turn around the downward course of any nation and bring revival, but we need to be persistent in repentant and watchful prayer.

The watchmen who are truly listening to the Lord would agree that we are at an urgent hour in history. The greatest thing the enemy would desire of us at this time would be to miss the urgency of the hour by putting our attention on secondary matters. We are in a season where we have a significant role in touching the nations deeply through our watchful prayers. We need to believe that God can bring breakthrough in any difficult situation through prayer.

God’s watchmen in prayer see into the distance, observe what is happening, and lean forward in prayer. Sometimes they see with eyes of discernment, and at other times they may see things way in advance. God gives them insight in order to intercede. The Greek word for “watch” means, “to be vigilant, wake, to be watchful.”

Did you know that prayer changes the atmosphere of your city? If there was ever a time when we needed to be on alert for our cities and pray day and night for our neighborhoods, it is now. Too many evil things are happening at an increasing rate. We have the secret of prayer and God’s presence that can touch our cities and ward off the evil intent of the enemy. Prayer is much more powerful than we realize. It can release the power of God and His anointing in even the darkest of places.

When we watch and pray for our city, we welcome and honor the Holy Spirit, asking Him to lead us in our prayer time. We need to pray by the power and at the initiation of the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it ourselves (John 5:19). Sometimes He whispers to us with an impression in our heart as to what to pray. Sometimes He directs us to specific Scriptures to pray. We need to be watchful and attentive to the Spirit’s leading (1 Peter 4:7; Ephesians 6:18). We ask the Lord what He is doing and listen. We spend time in worship when we come into God’s presence.

It’s almost like putting up the sail in a boat on a lake when the weather is calm. Suddenly the sail catches the wind even with the most gentle breeze, and the boat begins to move. We position our heart to listen carefully for the knowledge of His will; then we pray it back to Him. Many times God’s leading is like a whisper. Sometimes the action God wants us to take is prayer for protection. Sometimes it is reaching out in love to a needy person in the inner city.

In an area of Africa, the first Christians were very serious about watchful pray. Each believer had their own special place outside the village where they could be alone to pray in solitude. They reached these out door “prayer rooms” by walking through their own private footpath through the brush. But when the grass began to grow over one of the trails, they knew something was desperately wrong—someone wasn’t praying.

They were perfect examples of watchmen because they were so concerned about the spiritual welfare of each other. A custom sprang up among them. Whenever one of them noticed an overgrown prayer path, they would go to the person and warn them in a loving way by saying, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!”

God is urgently calling you to be an alert watchman just like these villagers in Africa. He wants you to join with others in prayer for your city and for one another. The same is true for each one of our cities. As you begin to look at your city through the eyes of God and with His heart, realize that it belongs to Him. We read in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” God wants you to contend for your city in prayer. He wants you to pray for His authority to rule supreme in your city. Although Satan has invaded our cities, through prayer and action we can take them back.

If watchmen do not keep their post on a ship during serious weather conditions, it could mean the loss of the ship and every person on board. Remember the Titanic, which sank very quickly because the watchmen were not doing their job. Let’s learn to concentrate on prayer, listening with expectation, and seize the moment as we keep our watch. Let’s learn to be God’s watchmen and accept God’s urgent call to watch and pray in 2017.

My Prayer for Watchful Prayer

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

Lord, I pray that You will teach me the secret of listening and being a watchman in prayer. Teach me to watch and prayer. Help me to move into a new dimension in my relationship with You. I desire to rise above the noise of this world, to be still in silence, and to learn the skill of watching for my city and nation. I want to learn to ascend the heights in watchful prayer.

Forgive me for running ahead of You and failing to listen to Your still, small voice. Forgive me for being anxious whenever I hurry and take matters into my own hands. Help me to realize my responsibility in being a watchman in prayer. Show me how to pray against evil in my city. Help me to pray diligently for the government leaders and the needs in my nation. Teach me to persistently claim the promises You give me in the secret place of listening prayer. I want to seize the moment in watchful prayer. I choose to throw off everything that hinders, fix my eyes on You, and run with perseverance the race marked out for me (Hebrews 12:1-2). In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Watchmen are ordinarily placed on the walls of a city to give notice to the rulers of coming danger. God appoints watchmen not only to warn men – often they will not hear – but also to summon Him to come to their aid whenever need or the enemy may be threatening. The great mark of the intercessors are that they are not to hold their peace day or night, to take no rest, and to give God no rest, until the deliverance comes. In faith they may count upon the assurance that God will answer their prayers.” Andrew Murray

By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC)