On Being a Watchman

by Raquel Rivera

“As each night watch begins, get up and cry out in prayer. Pour your heart out face-to-face with the Master.”   —Lamentations 2:19 

Our second son, Judah, was born at the start of a global pandemic. As for many living in the United States, our daily way of living was put on pause and our calendar plans were stomped on. The quarantine bummed us because we couldn’t spend our first month as a family of four the way we had hoped, but God had better plans for us. 

A week into quarantine life, God began to awaken Joshua (my husband) as a watchman in the night. God led Joshua into the task of night intercession. At first, I admired my husband’s ability to wake up at three a.m. and manage a full day of work. Soon, I realized that his morning cup of coffee was not the thing energizing him. Rather, it was the joy of the Lord oozing out from his night watches. Joshua walked around our house like a new man. He walked into a new type of authority, and he invited his family to walk with him. This began a journey toward prayer without ceasing. 

Joshua provided an example. He did not give us a demand or a rule. We saw the difference in prayer made on his demeanor, his attitude, and perspective. It inspired us to see him take everything to the Lord in prayer and walk in his identity as watchman of the most high God. 

When we had an infestation of flying termites invade our sunroom, Joshua went into that room, praying and spraying. When a sewage smell leaked into our basement, Joshua went down and declared war in the Spirit through prayer. Just like the ants, he did not assume that he could just pray the smell away and not deal with the underlying physical problem. Rather, Joshua started to invite God to participate in every area, every situation, and all issues of his life. He asked Jesus to help with the solution. Joshua was no longer parenting alone, fathering alone, being a pastor alone, being a husband to me alone; he invited Jesus Christ as a partner in all he did.

This sparked a fire in all of us. I began to feel convicted about the Netflix show I was binge-watching. Without Joshua saying a word to me, I swapped my TV time for worship sessions on YouTube. I began to encounter God during my late-night feedings with baby Judah. Ezra, our two-year-old, and I began to spend my morning time with him in the secret place worshipping together in our living room. Ezra began to have a prayer life of his own. He began to declare with his mouth that “Jesus would remove Coronavirus because He is strong and can do anything He wants.” Before bed, he would say, “if I’m afraid I will just say I am powerful in God, I am powerful in God.” This was not simply a “cute two-year-old thing” to say. This was evidence of a child who knows the power of the God we serve. 

Joshua and Raquel Rivera and sons, Ezra and Judah, resides in Bethlehem, PA. Joshua and Raquel serve as associate pastors at Bethlehem Community Fellowship

The atmosphere changed in our home, and we sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit more often and easier than ever before. We all began to take our turn as watchmen, in a figurative sense. We felt united as a household as we prioritized time with Jesus and expressed the edification of the Spirit in our daily activities. 

Something powerful happened to us when we stepped into the call of God, especially as that of a watchman. When we choose to say “yes” to Jesus, things change and shift in the Spirit. We reaped spiritual benefits in our daily routines and our radically altered quarantine life. Our God is real. Jesus is awakening His bride. May we all dare to take our place as watchmen, as leaders, as disciple-makers and Jesus followers.

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