“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:4).
In Revelation chapter eight, we see the incense burners and the smoke, which John says represents the prayers of the saints. He says when they are offered up there is silence for thirty minutes. Why? Because something is about to happen, the magnitude of which we don’t even begin to know. Everyone is breathless and watching. After the silence the angels move into place and the rest of the Book of Revelation unfolds – with all the thunder and lightning and all the destruction, as well as the redemption, with the saints rising up and showing themselves to be overcomers and victorious through it all. The rest of the Book of Revelation is the answer to the prayers of the saints.
There is silence in heaven because God is about to answer the prayers of the saints beyond what any of them had dared to dream or believe was possible. They’ve had foretastes to be sure. But there is even more to come and somehow in the divine economy, what God does in the rest of the Book of Revelation is related to the prayers of His people, including your prayers this very day. The implications of the supremacy of Christ for our life of prayer are significant. As Paul says in Ephesians 3:20-21, He whose power is at work in us is willing to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. “Now to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.”
Father, breathe Your life into my spirit, so that I might see the supremacy of Jesus in all of life – past, present and future.
–Adapted from a message by David Bryant entitled, A Christ Awakening and the Movement of Prayer, given at “The Christ Awakening” Conference, held in Terre Haute, Indiana, October 23-25, 2003. Used by permission. An excellent resource: Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life by Norval Hadley. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise your Father in heaven (Mt. 6:9). Thank him for including you as a son or daughter in his family. Confess moments when you’ve acted like an orphan, turning your back on God’s fatherly love. Commit yourself to deeper fellowship with your Father. Ask him to reveal his abiding love in your life through his Word and Spirit.
Think of one friend or coworker who has not experienced God’s fatherly love in a redeeming way. Pray for an opportunity this week to speak to that person of the hope that you have (Eph. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:15).
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