September 5, 2021
THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS
I believe more people might pray more if they realized just how valuable and powerful their prayers really are. Whether you are a brand new Christian or a seasoned veteran, your prayers carry weight. God always hears your prayers, and they are handled very carefully.
Revelation 5:6-10 (869)
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
In Revelation 5:8 we see the four living creatures and 24 elders around the Throne of God holding Golden Bowls that are full of the prayers of the Saints.
Let’s look at another place in Revelation 8:1-4 where we and our prayers are mentioned.
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
This shows us again, that our prayers are being held before God in a valuable way. The smoke, or the aroma of our prayers, is rising up before God continually, eternally. He is always reminded of our prayers, as if God needs reminding of anything. I believe I am in this pulpit today because of the prayers of my mother. I believe that her prayers are still being held in those Golden Bowls and are continually going up before God; and I am protected by her prayers, still.
So just who are these Saints that their prayers should be so important? Let’s look at Paul’s letter to the Romans and see who it is that are being called Saints. Romans 1:1-7 tells us that we are the Saints whose prayers are being held so carefully and valuably before God.
Romans 1:1-7 (795)
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Did you know your prayers carry that much weight? Have you thought about the fact that your prayers are not just heard as soon as you say them, but they are held continually before God by Angels, four special Living Creatures and 24 Elders?
Romans 8:26-27 takes us even further.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Paul talks about the Holy Spirit praying for us, the Saints, when we cannot do it ourselves. God is always looking out for us, even when we can’t protect ourselves with prayer, He is doing it for us.
That Golden Censer that our prayers are contained in is very important to God. Our prayers call on God for answers and in some cases, they may eventually bring Judgment upon others, those whom, in God’s eyes, are deserving of Judgment. How powerful are your prayers? I know you have heard someone say, “Be careful what you pray for.” That’s because your prayers carry so much weight with God. As God’s Saints, we have a responsibility to care for and pray for all of those around us. Do you pray for others regularly? Do you pray for yourself regularly?
Are you praying for someone in that kind of faithful way? Is there anyone praying for you in that faithful way? Are you praying for your enemies? If you really want to see a change in someone’s life, pray for them. Do it regularly and do it often. If you pray for an enemy regularly there will be a change in someone’s life. I didn’t say it would be in their life, but there will be a change. If you are faithfully praying for an enemy, before long they just might not be your enemy. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.”
The Apostle Paul prayed with power for us in his letter to the Ephesians: For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (828)
He prayed, kneeling before the Father, that we would realize just who we are, God’s Saints. He prayed that God would strengthen us through His great Love. He prayed that the Love of God would do a work in us that would lead to us being filled with the fullness of God. Paul’s prayers for you are still in those Golden Bowls. Bostwick UMC 9/5/21