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The Scriptorium

Watch and Pray

Always. Luke 21-34-48

Luke 21 (6)

Pray Psalm 55.16-19.
As for me, I will call upon God,
And the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.
God will hear, and afflict them,
Even He who abides from of old.

Sing Psalm 55.16-19.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Lord, I will call on You, answer and save!
Noon, morning, evening too, my voice I raise.
Grant me Your peace, O Lord; answer my foes!
All who reject God’s Word He overthrows.

Read Luke 21.1-38; meditate on verses 34-38.


1. For what did Jesus instruct us to “watch” and “take heed”?

2. When should we pray?

Jesus has been unfolding a scenario of increasing wickedness, confusion, uncertainty, unbelief, and fear. But all this will culminate and conclude when the Lord returns to gather and take His people unto Himself forever. As we await that day, we must be active in preparing for it, especially in making sure that none of the sinfulness of the world finds a home in our soul.

To that end, we must “take heed” and “watch” over our lives (vv. 34, 36), lingering in prayer before the Lord as we call on Him to search us and reveal to us any wicked ways lurking in the depths of our soul (Ps. 139.23, 24). And we must watch carefully over what we allow into our soul, so that we may think with the mind of Jesus (1 Cor. 2.16), love with the new heart God’s Spirit provides (Ezek. 36.26, 27), and value only those priorities that Jesus commands (Matt. 6.33; 1 Cor. 10.31).

When Jesus returns, the sinful world will be snatched up as in a sprung snare (v. 35); but we will escape if, through constant watchfulness and prayer, we are found to be diligent in making our calling and election sure (v. 36; cf. 2 Pet. 1.5-11). This is a daily calling and journey. Let us begin each day in God’s Word, listening as He speaks to our soul and directs us in seeing Jesus. Let us be like those multitudes who gathered to hear Jesus day by day in the temple (vv. 37, 38). Then let us be watchful throughout the day, praying at all times and not growing weary of seeking the Lord and His Kingdom and righteousness.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Jesus began this discussion with people who seemed to be sincerely seeking the truth about the unfolding of the Kingdom of God—His disciples included. During this discussion He: lambasted the scribes for their hypocrisy and cruelty (Lk. 20.46-21.4); predicted the destruction of the temple and the appearance of false prophets (Lk. 21.5-9); warned of weather events, fearful sights, great heavenly signs, and persecution (Lk. 21.11, 12); comforted His followers that all these things will be an opportunity for testimony and that the words for those occasions will be given by the Lord Jesus Himself (Lk. 21.13-26). Then He said that the end, not just an end, but The End with an attached redemption for His believers, was near (Lk. 21.27, 28), and offered some timeframe hints but not the exact time of His return (Lk. 21.29-33).

Then came these harder words—straight at His listeners and disciples; and now to us.
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down” with concern for the salvation of those in your Personal Mission Field? For the unsaved all across the globe? For the down-trodden?

Nope. None of the above.

Jesus suspects that we might be weighed down with “carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life” (Lk. 21.34). He is concerned that His return will catch us off-guard and “unexpectedly” (Lk. 21.34). How disheartening for Him that He knows us so well. And unsettling for us, that He knows us so well.

But because He loves us and wants the best for us, He declared that there is a better way. There is an Instead of That How About This remedy: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21.36).

Here's a suggestion from God’s reliable and true word:

1. Do not enter the path of the wicked. Do not walk in the way of evil.
2. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.
3. Give attention to God’s words. All of them.
4. Do not let His teaching depart from your mind or life.
5. Keep God’s teaching in the middle of your mind and heart.
6. Keep your heart pure with all diligence. Be vigilant.
For out of your heart spring the issues of life. All of them.
(Proverbs 4)

Clearly Jesus knows all of this. That is why He is warning us to follow His path and not be weighed down following another way. His way is the best way, for “the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The weighty way, the way of the wicked, is like darkness; and sadly, they don’t even know what makes them stumble (Prov. 4.18).

We do not ever want to stumble and miss that glorious Day when our Beloved Savior returns.

Best suggestion ever? “Watch and Pray”.

For reflection
1. How could you conduct an effective and ongoing self-watch?

2. Why is it important that you do so?

3. How can believers encourage one another in maintaining this “watch and pray” discipline?

Watch therefore, and pray always. Watch against sin; watch in every duty, and make the most of every opportunity to do good. Pray always: those shall be accounted worthy to live a life of praise in the other world, who live a life of prayer in this world.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 21.34-38

Pray Psalm 55.1-3, 20-23.
Spread your day before the Lord in prayer. Commit all your work to Him. Call on Him to give you strength and grace, and cast all your concerns and burdens onto Him. Give thanks and praise, and prepare to watch and pray throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 55.1-3, 20-23.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Hear now my prayer, O Lord, hide not from me.
Answer me by Your Word and set me free!
Wicked men sore oppress; restless am I.
Lord, ease my soul’s distress and hear my cry!

Many assail, O Lord, many betray.
See how they draw their sword across my way.
Take up my burden, Lord; strengthen and bless!
Let judgment by Your Word  their souls distress.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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