Does God answer prayers? – Part 2
God answers prayers but not all kinds of prayer. He answers prayers that conform to His will. One of the reasons God answers prayers is because He works with our prayers. This may sound a bit strange. The mystery of prayer is why and how God has chosen to use the petitions of feeble creatures like man to work out His purposes on earth.
This shows the power of grace and how God has elevated man into a partnership with Him. Two key Bible passages, Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 – 5 are crucial to understanding our point here. These two passages illustrate how the prayers of the saints are processed and used in heaven and on earth.
In the first text, we see God is constantly serviced with prayer by the living creatures and 24 elders who are representatives of the Church in heaven. “And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders 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” (Revelation 5:8 NLT).
Some say these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption. No doubt that the scene here reminds one of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, incense was a normal part of rituals in the temple. Priests stood twice daily and burned incense so that the smoke swept into the Holy of Holies and into the nostrils of God. That symbolised the people’s prayers rising to Him.
Then in Revelation 8:3 – 5, we are shown another scenic picture of an angel with a golden censer. This angel represents the Lord Jesus, because in the Old Testament only the High Priest carried a golden censer. Jesus is our High Priest, Who in answer to the prayers of the saints threw flaming coals to the earth, causing loud explosions, thundering, lightning, and an earthquake on earth. Thus, “The prayers of the saints return to earth in wrath.”
“Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake” (Revelation 8:3-5 NLT).
From these two texts, we come to the conclusion that one of the reasons God answers our prayers is that our prayers is the raw material He uses for His work on earth. This re-echoes what the Psalmist said in Psalm 141:2, “Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering” (Psalms 141:2 NLT). Our prayer is the sweet incense that soothes the mind of God and that reminds God what He is to do.
Prayers connect man to his Creator. Were Jesus not willing to answer our prayers He would not have taught His disciples on the importance and power of prayer. Jesus instituted the importance of prayer by teaching the disciples how to pray. His whole life and ministry showcased the importance of prayer and that God answers prayer.
No comments yet