Who are the Guardians and why do they play such an important role in the Body of Christ? Is it possible that we as a church have sometimes underestimated its role in the past? According to Sven Ljovstein, Nations Ablaze Founder and Spiritual Leadership Advisor, God is calling more and more Guardians in times of great need. Based on the urgency he feels about the importance of sentinels in this day and age, he wrote the preface to the recently released Dutch translation of Jennifer Leclerc’s book: The Critical Role of the Sentinel. Jennifer has an apostolic and prophetic ministry with an emphasis on intercession and spiritual warfare. She runs a house of prayer in the United States and is the founder of the Awakening Prayer Hub, a movement of prayer groups around the world. Sven himself is involved in various international groups and hopes that more Dutch and Flemish prayers will start setting up prayer centres. We spoke with him about what being a ranger entails, how to know if you are called to be a ranger and how to develop into it.
What is a sentinel?
Guardians often feel that the first spiritual battle is coming. They see things coming, they pray and then they warn other believers. They are mostly people who read the newspaper and pray. Anne van der Byl and David Wilkerson are good examples of this.
There are many types of guards, for example guards of churches, ministries, streets or for all of Holland. You often see that people are given a certain topic to be an observer of, and then they receive the burden of prayer for that. These topics relate to current events, where urgency is tested—topics such as the persecuted church, human trafficking, and communism.
It is important as a Custodian not to live on an island, but to be connected to others and leaders, so that you can work together and strengthen each other. It can be difficult at times, as guardians and leaders focus on different things. For example, a custodian often sees things that will happen in the future and feels responsible for praying about them now and warning people, while a (church) leader is often responsible for many practical matters that are happening in the present moment, such as organizing events.
If they do not understand each other, the shepherd may think: there is that intercessor again who comes to tell us that the country is burning, while I am already busy with other things. For the Guardian, in turn, it can be difficult to mature and deal with access to leadership. But if rangers and leaders learn to understand each other and work together in a healthy way, storms can be prevented.
What is also important for the Guardians is the realization that it is a way of life marked by intimacy with God.”
What is also important for the Guardians is to realize that it is a way of life characterized by intimacy with God. The catch is that people start acting like a content censor; That they write all sorts of things on social media, for example, without having the custodial lifestyle, without living close to God in everyday life. I’d much rather hear from someone who spends a lot of time in the closet with Jesus and writes a sharp blog from there.”
How do you know if you are your own keeper?
“You can actually ask the question here: How do you find out what your calling is? The answer is the same: You pray about it and look for an environment in which people practice developing their calling.
Another thing that can help you discover where your calling lies: Where do you feel the desire or the discomfort? For example, if you read something in the newspaper and you think he’s upset about why no one is praying about it, it could be a sign that you’re called to pray for him.
Another thing that can help you discover if you are called to be a Watchman is to read Jennifer LeClaire’s book The Critical Role of the Watchman. In this book you lay a biblical basis for the guard and then compare what it was like in Bible times and what it entails today. She explains a lot of things and makes it practical for the readers as well.
The book is suitable for both people who want to find out if they are a keeper and people who are actually walking into it. The book, as it were, holds a mirror to them; The guards will recognize themselves in it. The book is also recommended for leaders who want to understand how Guardians are “connected.” We hope that by reading books like this, leaders see what they already have in their team.”
How can you grow in your role as a ranger?
If you want to grow in the field of observing, in addition to reading this book, you can also enroll in one of Jennifer LeClaire’s schools. You can also join one of the many prayer groups at awakeningprayerhubs.com. The Awakening Prayer Hub is a prayer movement that was started by Jennifer and now consists of About 300 prayer groups all over the world.The purpose of these prayer groups or prayer centers is to equip the guards and help them develop their character and connect them with others so that they are not left alone.It is very encouraging to be connected to a larger group.
In the Netherlands we are also looking for people who would like to lead this “prayer center”. It would be nice if people in the Netherlands who wanted to create a prayer group like this could stand up to pray for revival and reform in the cities. Prayers often lead the spiritual path as the harvest comes. In places where evangelists come, there has often been a first prayer. They play an important role in the body of Christ. I Like to Encourage Prayer and Observers: Feel seen and be part of a prayer group anywhere. It is about the future of our country.”
Click here for more information on The Critical Role of the Guardian book or to order an order.