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God’s Secret Service Agents * Dutch Sheets * GiveHIM15 * 6/12/2024 - Watchmen


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June 12, 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.” (1Peter 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 and tomorrow, I want to talk about the concept of intercessory watchmen, with tomorrow’s post being 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. 


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 3 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.


Ask Holy Spirit to sharpen your skills as watchmen, and to increase your anointings in this important activity. He will do so. Tomorrow, 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. (Psalm 127:1)


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)


Today’s post was taken from my book Intercessory Prayer.

Click on the link below to watch the full video.







  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

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