WATCHING AND PRAYING BY GROWING
Many Christians talk about watching and praying, but few realize the real meaning of watching and praying. The way to watch is simply to grow in Christ. No one can be watchful without the proper growth. While you are growing, you are watching. While you are growing, you are preparing the extra portion of the all-inclusive Spirit as the oil in your vessel. This is what it means to be watchful. To be watchful does not mean that you read the prophecies, study the world situation, and observe the events in Russia, Israel, and the Middle East. Watching is not a matter of reading newspapers and collecting prophecies. If this is your way of watching, I am afraid that the Lord Jesus will come one day and that you will not know it. To be watchful means to grow with the Lord Jesus. You need to pray, "Lord Jesus, I am going to the department store. Will You go with me? I am going shopping. Will You go with me?" If the Lord says, "No, I want to stay home," you should reply, "Lord if You want to stay home, I will stay home, too." This is watching. "O Lord Jesus, I need to get a haircut. Lord, how long do You want my hair to be? I am one with You. Whatever You like, that is what I like." This is what it means to be watchful.
When I was young, I was taught to watch and pray. I was taught to observe certain events such as the return of Jerusalem to the Jews and then to pray about them. I watched and then I prayed. But now I realize that to watch and to pray means to grow continually with the Lord, to live together with Him. Then you are in the kingdom. You are not only in the kingdom, but you are the kingdom. As you grow together with the Lord, you watch and pray. The Lord Jesus is with us and His being with us is His gradual coming.
Revelation 14 reveals the maturity among all the maturities, signified by the number 144,000. Some will be like this. I believe that many in the local churches will be mature, but some will be at the top of this maturity. This topmost maturity will be considered by God to be the 144,000 who will be the firstfruit. After this comes the harvest.
THE WAY OF LIFE
I beg you to take all of these things into your spirit and bring them to the Lord in prayer. You will see this as the accurate realization of the New Testament. It is not simply a matter of interpretation of prophecies. We have studied all the good schools of prophetic interpretation. Probably some of you are familiar with G. H. Pember’s books on the great prophecies. We, too, are familiar with them. However, those books simply contain doctrines of prophecies; there is not much life there. What the Lord has shown us from His Word is the way of life. Even the Lord’s second coming is according to the way of life. He is the seed, He is the growth, He is the transformation, and He is even the harvest and the firstfruit. Whoever gains Him the most will be at the top of the harvest and will be the firstfruit.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)