“And when he took the scroll, the four living beings fell down
before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held
gold bowls filled with incense, which are the
prayers of God’s people.”
Thoughts… It is not uncommon for us to feel as if prayer is an exercise in futility; that either our payers are unheard, or if they are, that they don’t really matter. We don’t always feel this way, or else we would never pray. But sometimes we do sense that the heavens are brass and our prayers simply disappear like a puff of smoke into the atmosphere.
According to this verse, however, all of our prayers matter to God. They rise up to heaven and are offered as precious and pleasing incense before his very throne. God will not answer every prayer according to our desires—thankfully. I share this observation with Jean Ingelow: “I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered.” As Mother Teresa rightfully observed, “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” Yes, thankfully not all of our prayers are answered in the way we want, but each prayer is an act of worship offered in faith that blesses the very heart of God.
Now there is nothing wrong in hoping for the answer to your prayer. God’s Word is clear in that our Father desires to give us those things we ask for in prayer. So don’t quit expecting your answer. But pray with this added dimension: The greatest answer to prayer is the act of prayer itself.
You see, prayer is practicing the presence of God. It is entering his very throne room in the great court of heaven. It is exercising faith in the One who rewards those who believe that he exists and diligently seek him. It is placing your needs, concerns and hopes into the hands of a loving Father who delights in your dependency and is pleased to provide for your needs according to his gracious will.
Hopefully, the answer you are expecting will be in line with his will to act. But if not, your act of prayer does far more in the unseen realm than you will ever realize this side of eternity.
So keep praying!
Prayer… Father, I lift my prayer to you today simply as an act of worship. May I, and this prayer, please and glorify you. You know my heart, you know my needs, you know your will for my life. Fulfill your perfect plan for me—whether it comes in the form of some great and miraculous intervention, or simply through the intimacy of your silent presence.
One More Thing… “If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, He will give you the first sign of His intimacy—silence.”