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Dutch Sheets: "God's Secret Service Agents"

Dutch Sheets, Batesburg-Leesville, SC
Jun 27, 2024

God's Secret Service Agents

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

"With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18 NASB)

The King James Version uses the word "watching" instead of the phrase "be alert" in Ephesians 6:18. Both translations are good. We are called to be alert in prayer, watching for our family, friends, leaders, cities, and nations. Today, I want to talk about the concept of intercessory watchmen, with [the second portion of this word offering] a unique aspect of this important subject. If ever there was a time when this understanding was necessary, today is one of them.

In Scripture, the term "watchmen" comes from the Old Testament and describes what we would today call "sentries," "guards," or "lookouts." These individuals were responsible for protecting vineyards or fields (crops) from thieves and animals, and cities from invading forces.

Those watching crops were stationed on rocks, buildings, or towers to provide a better range of vision. Towers or outposts in the fields usually had sleeping quarters because it was necessary to keep watch day and night during harvest. The watchmen would take shifts – one working, one sleeping – and thereby watch 24 hours a day.

Watchmen were also posted on the city walls where they functioned as sentries. From the walls, they watched for two things: messengers and enemies. They watched for messengers in order to inform the gatekeepers when to open the city gates, and more importantly, when not to. In those days, "runners" were used to carry messages from city to city, and when a known messenger was approaching, the watchmen would alert the gatekeepers that it was safe to open the gate.

The watchmen on the city walls also looked for enemy soldiers. When they saw potential danger, they sounded an alarm, either by a shout or a trumpet blast. Soldiers could then prepare themselves for battle and defend the city:

"For thus the Lord says to me, 'Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, a train of donkeys, a train of camels, let him pay close attention, very close attention.' Then the lookout called, 'O Lord, I stand continually by day on the watchtower, and I am stationed every night at my guard post.'" (Isaiah 21:6–8)

Three Hebrew words are translated as "watchman" in Scripture: natsar (1), shamar (2), and tsaphah (3). In a broad sense, they all mean to guard or protect by watching over. They can also have the connotation of hiding or concealing something. Watchmen hide people in the secret place of the Most High through their prayers (see Psalm 91).

Another interesting meaning of tsaphah is "to lean forward and peer into the distance." The connection to prayer should be obvious. The watchman looks ahead, into the future – "peering into the distance" – to foresee the attacks of the enemy. He or she is proactive, not reactive. This is prophetic intercession.

The Law of First Mention

The first mention of one of these words in Scripture is in Genesis 2:15: "Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it."

Theologians have what is known as "the law of first mention." This refers to the general rule that the first time a major subject is mentioned in the Bible, it is "introduced"; significant facts are given concerning it, just as we might do when introducing a person.

For example, the first mention of the serpent, satan, is in Genesis 3:1: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, "You shall not eat from any tree of the garden"?'"

It is easy to see this law at work here, as the verse speaks of satan's subtlety or craftiness. When God introduces satan, He informs us of one of the most important things we must remember about him: He is far more dangerous to us as the crafty serpent than as a roaring lion. (Photo via Unsplash)

The first mention of a watchman in Scripture was Adam in Genesis 2:15, and introduces us to one of our primary responsibilities as watchmen: Keep the serpent out of our "gardens"! Guard or protect from the subtle attacks of the serpent that which God has entrusted to our care. Keep him out of your garden: your home, family, church, city, nation! KEEP HIM OUT!

Expanded Meanings

Here are several ways these three words for watchman are used in Scripture. These uses will help expand our understanding of what it means to be watchmen:

Keep/Keeper – This is by far the most frequent usage of these words – at least 250 times. Watchmen keep things, places, and individuals safe, ensuring against loss, theft, or damage. They keep things intact and in possession.

Guard/Bodyguard – Watchmen shield or guard individuals and places, protecting them from danger and harm. They are the secret service agents of the Kingdom.

Doorkeeper/Gatekeeper – Watchmen have the ability, through prayer, to determine who or what comes into their homes, families, churches, cities, etc. As sentries, they discern by the Spirit what to allow in and, through prayer, open and close the doors (Isaiah 22:22). They pray IN the work of Holy Spirit and REJECT the works of darkness, keeping the serpent out.

Preserve/Preserver – Watchmen preserve, keeping things from ruin and destruction. They preserve lives, anointings, moves of God, and a host of other things by covering them in prayer.

Pay Attention – Watchmen must be alert and always paying attention. In Scripture, we are compared to soldiers; as good sentries, God tells us to "pay attention!"

Observe/Behold – Don't just look – see! Discern. Be observant. Watchmen observe what others fail to see. We can observe much in the place of prayer, often even before it happens!

Beware – Watchmen must be vigilant, aware, and on the alert. First Peter 5:8 warns us to be of sober spirit, watching for the devouring lion. When we see him at work, we must enforce Calvary's victory – stop him! Jesus saw satan's attack coming against Peter and prayed that his faith would survive the test. The prayer was effective! (Luke 22:31–32)

Protect – In the same sense as guarding and keeping, watchmen protect, building walls or boundaries of protection from the attacks of the devil.

Maintain – Watchmen maintain things for the Lord and for people. They are the maintenance crew. Though often not those who set vision, build ministries, or oversee congregations, intercessors maintain them, keeping things working well and preventing breakdowns. Watchmen help maintain the anointing, unity, health, purity, truth, and many other important things in the Church. (Photo via Unsplash)

Ask Holy Spirit to sharpen your skills as watchmen, and to increase your anointings in this important activity. He will do so. [Next], we will look at another little-known and very important aspect of this type of prayer.

Pray with me: Father, we are painfully aware that the devourer was allowed great access to America. The Church was not alert, was ignorant of the power and principles of prayer, and did not function as the gatekeepers of our nation. The result has been that he who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy has been doing so almost at will. He has devoured families, elements of our government, our schools, and even many of our churches. We ask for Your forgiveness, cleansing, and supernatural ability to reverse this.

Increase revelation in the Body of Christ regarding this amazing force we call prayer. Awaken Believers to the fact that we are literally partners with You, authorized to teach Your Kingdom principles, release Your power, and extend Your mercy. And increase our understanding of watchmen intercession, revealing what it means to be shields, sentries, gatekeepers, preservers, and maintainers.

We take up this mantle now and cover our families, homes, possessions, leaders, cities, and nations. We ask for supernatural protection over the minds and bodies of our children. We ask for protection over our leaders and their families. And we ask for protection over our nation – except You keep the city the watchman wakes in vain (see Psalm 127:1).

Blockades and Sieges

There is another facet to this type of prayer, that I now want us to consider.

In 1988, I had the thought, which I knew was from Holy Spirit, "Study the watchman concept."

I already know about watchmen, was my immediate thought. I had studied the subject, taught on it, and was very familiar with the concept. Yet, I had the immediate and strong impression that I was missing something. There was more.

I obeyed Holy Spirit's prompting and, indeed, there was more to the subject than I had seen. I discovered that the watchman concept is not just defensive, protective prayer; there is also an offensive or aggressive aspect to it. I found that the Hebrew words for watchmen are also translated "to lay siege,"(4) "spy,"(5) and "ambush"(6), in order to conquer cities or people (see Judges 1:24; 2 Samuel 11:16; Isaiah 1:8; Jeremiah 4:17; Psalm 56:6; 71:10). The reason these words are used in this manner is because all of the actions involve watching.

When I saw this, I heard Holy Spirit say the following:

"I am about to release revelation to the praying Church that will enable them to deliver individuals, cities, regions, and nations for Me. New strategies and concepts will emerge, discernment of satan's strongholds will be given, and sieges will begin that will eventually break his hold over people and places.

"This will be a broad work, with strategies and actions coming from many different ministries. I will give part of a plan to one person or ministry, while simultaneously imparting another part to others. At times, they will not even realize they're part of a larger scheme. But I will orchestrate the efforts in order to lay sieges in the spirit realm, cutting off satan's 'supply lines' – iniquities that give him access; I'll close his entry points and remove that which has enabled him to hold places in captivity. Through the watchman anointing, My intercessors will discern from Me and lay a prayer siege to cities and nations."

In 1988 there was very little known and spoken of regarding prayer walking, prayer journeys, spiritual mapping, identificational repentance, reconciliation ceremonies between races and people groups, territorial spirits, etc. I am sure understanding of them existed in a few people's thinking, but most of the Body of Christ had never heard of them. And I am relatively certain that some of these concepts did not exist at all. At the time, I knew of only a couple of ministries that existed primarily for prayer purposes, and it was hard to find books and teachings on intercession.

Since then, however, literally millions of Believers around the world have come to understand and embrace these and other aspects of prayer, learning to pray more effectively. The learning curve in the recent prayer movement has shot up exponentially. Dozens of prayer ministries have been launched, thousands of prayer groups have formed, and millions of Believers are praying effectively. Dr. C. Peter Wagner, one of the leaders and fathers of this movement in the 1990's and early 2000's, once happily stated, "The prayer movement around the world is out of control."

Certainly, we have not yet "arrived" in our understanding of prayer – there is more to learn – but we are moving forward at a rapid pace. And the understanding we have gained, generating all of this activity is part of the watchman anointing God released to the Church at the end of the 1980s.

Currently, one of our great challenges is remaining cognizant of the fact that prayer sieges for cities and nations can take years, even decades, to accomplish their purposes. Perseverance is required. We must remember that the prayers released are being used to dismantle centuries-old, sometimes millennia-old strongholds of darkness. Also millions of hearts and minds – traditions, cultural paradigms, religious beliefs, including doctrines in the Church – must be changed. Revivals and outpourings do not occur simply because God "finally decides" to send them; they occur when the actions of people and conditions in a region allow it. And those conditions are created through prayer. God waited for the "fullness of time" to send Jesus (see Galatians 4:4). (Photo via Unsplash)

I am sharing this teaching to encourage Believers here and around the world that your prayers are accomplishing much. They are absolutely shaping history. Blockades (another meaning of "natsar," one of the Hebrew words for watchman) have now been placed in the spiritual realm against satan's activities. Sieges are in place and accomplishing their purposes. Even the coming shaking, the discipline that will be a part of America's salvation, has been generated through our prayers. This is all working together to produce history's greatest harvest.


Pray with me: Father, millions of people around the world are praying, asking You for an outpouring of Holy Spirit that will save a billion or more people. Thank You for orchestrating this amazing growth and revelation. We are asking You today to encourage and strengthen this great army. Some are in difficult places and circumstances; many are persecuted for their faith. Give them tenacious hearts that refuse to quit until they see the fruit they desire. May they have a deep assurance from You that their prayers will produce eternal life for many, many people.

We also ask You to increase the understanding of Believers around the world to even greater levels. We want to be the "people who are willing in the day of Your power" (see Psalm 110). Enable us to pray more effectively, to operate in Christ's authority at higher levels, and release Holy Spirit's power with greater force. Give us even wiser, more effective strategies for our regions and nations. May the prayer sieges become even more powerful, shutting off every supply line of satan's kingdom.

Jesus, Lord of the harvest, Builder of the overcoming Church, King over the nations, accomplish Your great plan. The Father "so loved the world" that He sent You; You so loved the world that You came. Now, in Your great love, pour out the former and latter rains simultaneously! Reap! Gather! Save! We ask all this in Your great name, Yeshua.

Our decree: We decree with the Psalmist, David: the Lord is our light and salvation; we will fear no evil! (See Psalms 23 and 27.) We decree that Heaven's blockade is in place, and satan's supply lines in regions and nations are being cut off. His rule over them is ending.

Today's post was taken in part from my books Watchman Prayer and Intercessory Prayer.

(1) James Strong, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 5341.

(2) Ibid., ref. no. 8104

(3) Ibid., ref. no. 6822

(4) Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, rev. ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1990), p. 1752.

(6) James Strong, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) ref. no. 6822.

(6) Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, p. 1787.

(This post is a combination of two Give Him 15 messages. To watch the full words, click here and here.)


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Dutch Sheets
Dutch Sheets Ministries

Email: click here

Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized author, gifted teacher, and conference speaker. He travels extensively, challenging believers for passionate prayer and societal reformation. Seeing America experience a sweeping revival and return to its Godly heritage is Dutch's greatest passion. Dutch has written over 23 books, many of which have been translated into over 30 languages. His international bestseller, Intercessory Prayer, has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Dutch has pastored, taught in several colleges and seminaries, and served on the board of directors of numerous organizations. He is fondly known to many as Papa Dutch. Treasuring time spent with their family and grandchildren. Dutch and Ceci, his wife of 40 plus years, enjoy quiet walks in the woods, reading, and playing a little golf. They make their home in beautiful South Carolina.


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