REVELATION 8:3-5: “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.”
OBSERVATION: Prayer is a funny thing. I don’t mean comical, I mean something that is at the same time easy and difficult to understand. We know how important prayer is. We believe that God hears and answers prayer. But we cannot see “how” it works. It is something that we initiate in the invisible and wait to be realized in the visible. Because of this, sometimes we question whether our prayers are really making it to the Father. I know God hears and answers prayer…but did He hear mine?
These verses in the book of Revelation give us a glimpse into heaven and the activity that takes place before the very throne of God. First, it shows us that there is an angel assigned to facilitate our prayers before the throne of God. Prayers are not simply uttered into cyberspace – they are hand delivered to the throne of God! I don’t know really how this works, as the book of Revelation is filled with great imagery that is hard to understand. However, this picture is the same picture of the priest offering incense before the veil in the Holiest Place as he brought the prayers of Israel before the Mercy Seat of the Lord. I believe that there is not one prayer that is uttered in faith that does not make it to the golden altar of heaven!
Next we see that ALL of these prayers ascend before and to God. In other words – they make it to His heart! The Psalmist reminds us that – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalms 56:8) Every prayer, every tear, every cry of our heart ascends to the heart of the Father! Not one of them is lost or forgotten. What a wonderful promise and assurance. This is why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us – “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)
Prayer is a funny thing, but it is also a powerful thing. I don’t need to understand every aspect of how prayer works in order to access the power and blessing of prayer. All I need to do is come to the Father, through the Name of Jesus, and let my petitions be made known unto Him. Every prayer, every cry, every utterance will be “hand delivered” to the Throne of God! He will hear, He will listen, He will answer! He will provide His mercy and grace to help us when we need it most! Lord, thank you for the promise and privilege of “Answered Prayer”! In Jesus Name!