Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


The Importance of Watchfulness and Prayer

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

Our meetings are about to close, and we are soon to separate, some to return to their homes, and others to their various fields of labor. What will be the effect of these good meetings? Will you cherish the precious light that God has here given, and let it have a sanctifying influence upon your lives? Will you, as you assemble from week to week in your little meetings at home, reflect upon others the rays of light that have shone upon you? Will your mind and conversation be upon the blessings of heaven, whence you look for your Saviour; or will you again be absorbed with things of a temporal nature? You have received additional light, and you will doubtless be beset by more severe temptations than ever before. The enemy will manufacture difficulties and create influences by which to discourage and overcome you if possible. But by watchfulness and prayer and faith in Christ you may be victors. HS 144.4

As the laborers go forth into the vineyard of the Lord, it should be remembered that they are human, and that they will have many temptations and trials to meet. The more important the work of the minister, the fiercer will be the assaults of the enemy upon him. Satan's temptations are the strongest against those who have the greatest responsibilities to bear. In view of this, the hearts of those who remain at home should be drawn out in sympathy for them, and the prayers of their brethren should ascend as often as once a day that the special blessing of God may go with them, and open the way before them, that they may reach the hearts of the people. If all were to do this, they would feel a deeper interest in the progress of the truth, and in those engaged in proclaiming it. HS 144.5

Jesus is soon coming, and our position should be that of waiting and watching for his appearing. We should not allow anything to come in between us and Jesus. We must learn here to sing the song of heaven, so that when our warfare is over we can join in the song of the heavenly angels in the city of God. What is that song? It is praise, and honor, and glory unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. We shall meet opposition; we shall be hated of all men for Christ's sake, and by Satan, because he knows that there is with the followers of Christ a divine power, which will undermine his influence. We cannot escape reproach. It will come; but we should be very careful that we are not reproached for our own sins and follies, but for Christ's sake. HS 145.1

We should not allow our time to be so occupied with things of a temporal nature, or even with matters pertaining to the cause of God, that we shall pass on day after day without pressing close to the bleeding side of Jesus. We want to commune with him daily. We are exhorted to fight the good fight of faith. It will be a hard battle to maintain a life of earnest faith; but if we cast ourselves wholly upon Christ, with a settled determination to cleave only to him, we shall be able to repulse the enemy, and gain a glorious victory. The apostle Paul exhorts us, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Again he says, “Now the just shall live by faith.” HS 145.2

As you go to your homes, be sure that you do not leave Jesus behind. You remember how, when he was twelve years old, his parents took him with them up to Jerusalem to attend the passover. But in returning with the crowd, they allowed their attention to be so engrossed with talking and visiting that they entirely neglected their sacred trust, and Jesus was left behind. For an entire day he was not brought to mind by those who should not have forgotten him for a moment. By only one day's neglect they lost Jesus from their company; but it cost them three days of anxious search to find him. So with Christians; if they become careless, and neglect to watch and pray; they may in one day lose Christ, but it may take many days of anxious, sorrowful search to find him, and to regain the peace of mind which was lost by vain talking, or neglect of prayer. When Christians associate together, there is need of carefulness in all their words and actions, lest Jesus be forgotten, and they pass along unmindful of the fact that he is not among them. HS 145.3

When men are careless of the Saviour's presence, and in their conversation make no reference to him in whom they profess that their hopes of eternal life are centered, Jesus is not in their company, and the holy angels are grieved from their presence. These pure and heavenly beings cannot remain where the presence of Jesus is not desired and encouraged, and where his absence is not marked. They are not attracted to the crowd where minds are diverted from heavenly things. For this reason, great mourning, grief, and discouragement exist among the professed followers of Christ. By neglect of meditation, watchfulness, and prayer, they lose all that is valuable. The divine rays of light emanating from Jesus are not with them, cheering them with their holy, elevating influence. They are enshrouded in gloom, because their careless, irreverent spirit has separated Jesus from their company, and driven from them the ministering angels. HS 145.4

Many attend religious meetings, receive instruction from the servants of God, and are greatly refreshed and blessed; and yet, because they do not feel the necessity of praying and watching thereunto on the homeward journey, they return to their homes no better than when they left them. As they realize their loss, they frequently feel inclined to complain of others, or to murmur against God, but do not reproach themselves as the cause of their own darkness and sufferings of mind. These should not reflect upon others. The fault is in themselves; they talked, jested, and visited until they grieved away the heavenly Guest, and they have only themselves to blame. It is the privilege of all to retain Jesus with them. If they do this, their words must be select, seasoned with grace, and the thoughts of their hearts must be disciplined to dwell upon heavenly things. HS 146.1

We have had great light and privileges at these meetings, and now let us retain the impressions that have been made upon our hearts. When we feel the least inclined to commune with Jesus, let us pray the most. By so doing we shall break Satan's snare, the clouds of darkness will disappear, and we shall realize the sweet presence of Jesus. Let us here resolve that we will not sin against God with our lips, that we will never speak in a light and trifling manner, that we will never murmur or complain at the providence of God, and that we will not become accusers of our brethren. We cannot always hinder the thoughts that come as temptations; but we can resist the enemy so that we shall not utter them. The adversary of souls is not permitted to read the thoughts of men; but he is a keen observer, and he marks the words and actions, and skillfully adapts his temptations accordingly. If all would labor to repress sinful thoughts and feelings, giving them no expression in words or acts, Satan would be defeated; for he would not know how to prepare his specious temptations to meet their cases. HS 146.2

Oh that the vail could be parted for a moment, and you could see the interest that all heaven takes in the human race! God and heavenly angels are anxiously waiting to see if we will not cleanse ourselves from all sin. Of the redeemed it is said, the Lamb shall lead them to “living fountains of waters;” and they shall walk in the beams of a sunless day; for Christ is the light of the city of God. HS 146.3

We want to get in the habit of talking of heaven, beautiful heaven. Talk of that life which will continue as long as God shall live, and then you will forget your little trials and difficulties. Let the mind be attracted to God. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” And now may the blessing and peace of God rest upon you all, my brethren and sisters. May your lives from henceforth be lives of watchfulness and prayer; and if we never meet again in this world, may we meet around the great white throne, to sing the song of victory together in the kingdom of God. HS 146.4

Tuesday morning, September 29.