1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” – Rev 8:3
We have talked previously about some the purposes for prayer put in place by our Lord. Most of us do not understand how important our prayer is to God. It’s easy to miss the fact that we are directly empowered by our Lord and that He often uses our prayers to facilitate His actions. Looking closely at the scriptures demonstrates how God has chosen to make us integral to the work of His Kingdom. He has placed us in a position for the administration of His world.
You can see a few examples of this placement when God acts after our prayer in His written word:
- Job 42:8 – After having provided unholy advice to Job, God informs Job’s friends that they are to sacrifice to Him, and that He would accept Job’s prayers. Implying that their prayers would not be heeded unless Job uttered them.
- Gen 20:7 – Abimelech had taken Abrahams wife Sarah (partially because Abraham had not divulged the truth) and was facing God’s wrath for it. Rather than act directly God informs Abimelech that Abraham will pray for him, and thus God would spare his life.
In Revelation 8:3 we see a glimpse of how prayers are stored, received, and utilized by God. This is not the only way prayer is used by God, but also a fascinating view of how our prayers can be an integral part of God’s plan.
In Revelation 8 the scene unfolds with God is preparing to pour out His wrath on earth. The Lord has opened the 7 seals on the scroll, believed to contain the title deed to the earth, and is about to enact the trumpet judgments.
Prior in Revelation 5:8 we learned that our prayers are set before God in Golden bowls of incense: “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” This was also supernaturally previewed by King David in Psalm 14:2 “ Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
In Revelation 8:3, we see how important it is to God to include us in His actions. Our prayers matter to Him. God holds up the enacting His judgements on the whole earth until our prayers are offered to Him. The fact that they are “stored” in golden bowls alludes to this fact. Our prayers are imperfect, but they are supremely important to God. There is a sense that our prayers may even play a part in the setting of God’s wrath in motion.
Prayer is directed and utilized in many ways by God. Our prayers are stored up in heaven in golden bowls. Though we may place minor importance on our prayers, God doesn’t. They are important enough for Him to make them an integral part of His plan. There are many reasons to pray fervently and often, these passages show us one more reason why we shouldn’t neglect our opportunity to communicate our needs and our praise to our Father.
Lord, thank you for the illumination of Your word. Thank You for making us a part of Your master plan. Thank you for giving us the time and resources to learn about you and come to you continually in prayer and thanksgiving. Amen