When our family lived in another state, we attended a church that had a special prayer service on Sunday nights. After a few worship songs, people would gather in small, informal groups with the people seated near them and would take turns praying aloud.
As I sat in one of those groups once, I could hear the hushed murmurs of all the groups around me and nearly shed tears. It was easy to imagine all of those prayers raising to Heaven and I knew that it pleased God.
In Revelation 8, John described our prayers reaching Heaven like this: “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden alter before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand (Rev. 8:3-4).”
In Acts 10:4, an angel told Cornelius, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before the Lord.”
In Psalm 141:2, David asked God, “May my prayer be set before You like incense.”
Through these examples in scripture, we can see clearly that our sincere prayers are valuable to God. They don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to be perfect, we just need to come humbly before the Savior. Elliot’s Commentary notes, “These prayers of God’s people, weak and imperfect as they are, are yet invincible weapons in the hands of Christ’s soldiers.”
We find that not only are the prayers of the saint in Revelation 8 heard by God and pleasing to Him, they are answered. In the very next verse.
This is not to say that our prayers will be answered instantaneously. After the events described in the first seven chapters of Revelation, we might assume that Christians will be praying fervently throughout this time. They may even be confused about why God isn’t answering more swiftly as things get really, really horrifying. However, there always come a time when God answers our prayers, as He does here.
When you are praying, and can’t see anything happening, remember the image of your prayers rising to Heaven, received by a pleased Heavenly Father.
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Reading Plan- Week Fifty
Day One- Revelation 8
Day Two- Revelation 9
Day Three- Revelation 10
Day Four- Revelation 11
Day Five- Revelation 12