“And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.”
Although it’s the greatest thing we’ll ever do, too often it’s also the most neglected.
We talk much about it. We read numerous books on it. But, if the truth be known, prayer is the weakest spiritual discipline in every church, believer’s life, etc. We know it “shouldn’t be;” yet, the fact remains “it is.”
Today’s Manna, taken from John’s Revelation on the isle of Patmos, is an intriguing one. Much of his writing is difficult to understand—particularly as we try to discern which part is literal and which part is symbolic. However, his description of what is happening in Heaven is a beautiful one. . .and, yes, a very convicting one.
Look at those words again:
“Every one of them (had) harps and golden vials (shallow bowls) full of odors (Grk. ‘thumiama’—‘incense, fragrant powder burned in worship, etc.’), which are the prayers of saints.”
“Golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of saints.”
Is this literal or figurative?
It doesn’t matter, does it?
No, what does matter is “Are we adding anything to the fragrance of Heaven through our daily prayers?”
Convicting, isn’t it?
Yet, it’s also consoling—especially if there are times when we wonder if our prayers are even being heard.
Think of it:
Just as scented incense is sometimes burned during a worship service and its fragrance fills the room, so are “the prayers of the saints” pleasing to the Heavenly Father. So often we hear a small child offering his evening prayers as he kneels by his bed and we smile. But, believe it or not, the Father also hears and says “These are the type prayers in which I delight.”
Simple prayers. Sincere prayers. Prayers from the heart.
And, when such prayers are anointed with tears, their “faith-fragrance” fills God’s Throne Room. Why then do of us most fail to pray—or at least pray believing? Why do most churches hold prayer meetings but spend little time praying? Why is there a National Day of Prayer only one day a year? How we need to stop talking about prayer and start praying. Why not pause right now and fill the Lord’s nostrils with new fragrance? He’s waiting.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated January 11, 2010