I want to begin this post with a shout-out to those of you who are the "discerner intercessors." You may relate to being a "watchman intercessor." Your Father wants you to know that you are significant, and you are seen by Him.
The other morning, I had just started working on this post when I received a notice on my phone that a courier delivery was arriving. It read: "Today's the day!" So, I relocated to the front room where I could watch for the courier while working.
It struck me as ironic that I had to be a lookout on the very day I was blogging about the watchman ministry. Then I realized there was a message in the coincidence!
The Lord Is Sending Answers to You
I believe the Lord is saying this to His prayer warriors and watchmen intercessors:
"You have labored in prayer on behalf of others, and now is the time to lift your heart in anticipation to receive personally; for the Lord is sending answers and gifts to you. You will realize that you have not only labored on behalf of others, but that as you've been praying, I am rewarding the desires of your own heart."
6 Roles and Purposes of the Bible Watchman
Today, I'd like to share a snippet from my online course, the School of Prophetic Prayer. I find this study on different aspects of the watchman's role in the Bible inspiring! Although this is just skimming the surface, I believe that the Holy Spirit is going to use these points to empower and affirm you in your identity and calling.
1. To Be a Lookout
"Now David was sitting between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone. Then the watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, 'If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.' And he [the messenger] came rapidly and drew near." (2 Samuel 18:24-25 NKJV, emphasis added) (Photo via Piqsels)
Translated in the Hebrew, the word "watchman" (tsaphah) means "to lean forward; to peer into the distance; to observe, await" (Strong's H6822). Some other translations use "sentry" or "lookout."
This speaks to the primary role of a watchman (or "watcher") in ancient times, which was to keep a lookout. A watchman's primary function was to be alert! A watchman on the walls looked out for approaching messengers, danger, armies, or envoys. Then they passed on the clues and characteristics of what they saw approaching (2 Kings 9:20).
2. To Guard and Protect
"...Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." (Psalm 127:1 NKJV)
The watchman's purpose was to guard and protect, as well as to forewarn (Ezekiel 3:17). The role of a watchman was particularly needed at night when most of the population was asleep. Many prophetic intercessors can relate to being on "night watch" when the Holy Spirit has alerted them to pray or to receive information—even through dreams.
3. To Protect the Harvest
"...There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country." (Matthew 21:33 NKJV)
It wasn't only from walls that watchmen kept a lookout; watchtowers were also built. Some of these were built with the purpose of protecting crops and the harvest fields from enemy invaders, or other dangers like wild animals. This is a reminder that in these days, we need the "watchmen intercessors" that guard the end-time harvest—the harvest in our generation. In fact, I believe that right now God is touching hearts. You might identify with His heart for the harvest. This might be close to home for you, as people you care about are far from God. You have a part to play in securing the environment that will help lead them to their salvation. Receive a fresh anointing for prayer today!
4. To Enforce and Secure
One word we could use to describe the purpose of watchmen in the Bible is "security," which brings us back to the "night watchman." This type of watchman was one who patrolled city streets at night (Song of Solomon 3:3, 5:7). It was meant to be a role of protection, as well as law enforcement. This is a reminder that through being in the New Covenant, we are GRACE enforcers. When God shows us something that is out of order, through our ability to discern, we can pray and see God's redemptive purposes accomplished!
The picture of working at night while the general population is asleep speaks to the hidden power of the watchman. It's a bit like a firewall on the internet, or anti-virus software on a computer! A watchman intercessor may operate out of sight, but they are powerful and needed by God.
5. To Provide Intelligence
"So the watchman reported, saying, 'He went up to them and is not coming back; and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously!'" (2 Kings 9:20 NKJV)
"Now a watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, 'I see a company of men.' And Joram said, 'Get a horseman and send him to meet them, and let him say, "Is it peace?"'" (2 Kings 9:17 NKJV) (Photo via Public Domain Pictures)
There was usually a system whereby watchmen could report what they had spotted and pass on the "intel." In the Bible, we read about a certain watchman who had the ear of the king (2 Samuel 18:25)! This speaks to us of commissioning, trust, and assignment.
6. To Be Gatekeepers
"To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came out for the West Gate, with the Shallecheth Gate on the ascending highway—watchman opposite watchman" (1 Chronicles 26:16 NKJV). (This describes the division of the gatekeepers.)
Watchmen were positioned at the gateways of a city. Rulers equipped them with the knowledge and authority to know who they could admit into the city, when to keep the gates closed, and whom to deny entry. (This sounds familiar...think of binding and loosing, which effectively means to deny and permit!)
So, being a watchman can also mean being a gatekeeper in some ways. Being an important part of the first line of defense made watchmen a target of the enemy. So you can imagine that being alert and armed was important for them, as well as for those they protected and the leaders they represented.
There Is Room for You to Grow
Sometimes we just need to hear someone say, "You are not alone! You are part of a wider family and tribe! You do have a gift, and potentially a ministry, that is significant." So, for those of you who relate to being "watchmen intercessors," or "discerner intercessors," I declare this over you today:
There is room for you to grow. God has a place for you! There is a ministry for you. There is favor for you! You are called and chosen by God.
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Helen Calder¬†is a prophetic minister and writer, and founder of Enliven Ministries, in the David McCracken Ministries family. Helen has a unique gift of equipping in the areas of prophetic ministry, discernment and prayer. She is known for Enliven Blog, an online prophetic training and mentoring resource that reaches thousands of people globally. Helen and Malcolm have been married for 37 years and are at home in Planetshakers Church, Melbourne, Australia.
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