Summary: When God's people pray, God's dispatches His angels to accomplish His plan. That means our prayers really do matter, so keep on praying until God comes through.
Some time ago, I came across a prayer from an unknown author that I’ve learned to appreciate more and more the longer I live. It goes like this:
So far today,
I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped.
I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent.
I'm very thankful for that.
But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed;
And from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help. Amen. (Bill White, Paramount, California; www.PreachingToday.com)
If you’re like me, you’ve learned that you need a lot of help in life, so prayer becomes very important. But do you ever wonder if your prayers really make any difference beyond just helping you feel good. Do you ever wonder if God truly acts in answer to prayer, especially since He, as the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, has everything already planning out?
Revelation 8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal [Jesus is still opening the 7-sealed scroll given to him in chapter 5]… When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
When we saw Jesus break the other six seals in chapter 6, there was increasing calamity with each one. Now, with the opening of the 7th seal, there is silence. Or as one commentator suggested, “It’s like the hush in a courtroom right before the jury foreman announces the verdict” (Walvoord). You know something big is going to happen, and it almost takes your breath away.
Revelation 8:2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (ESV)
The 7th seal encompasses the 7 trumpet judgments of the Tribulation. But before the angels play their trumpets heralding judgment, something else takes place, something that is quite remarkable in light of God’s sovereign plan.
Revelation 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. (ESV)
Before the angels play their trumpets of judgment, the saints pray. The prayers of God’s people drift up to God’s throne like a fragrant incense. My friends, when we pray, it creates a pleasing aroma to God, so…
Come to Him often with your requests, because our prayers are precious to the Lord. They are very special to Him. He enjoys them like the fragrant aroma of a special perfume. And our prayers are powerful for him, as well. He uses our prayers to accomplish His will on earth. Our prayers really do make a difference.
Revelation 8:5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. (ESV)
Our prayers, when they’re mixed with the fires of heaven, have real power here on earth. They really do accomplish great and marvelous things.
In Revelation 6:10, the martyred believers cried out, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth.” They asked God for justice. They asked God to judge the wickedness of this world, and God is doing just that right here in answer to their prayers.
He uses their prayers to send thunder, lightening and an earthquake to this earth, and they prepare the way for the seven angels to sound the trumpet calls of judgment. Our prayers have real power on earth!
Dr. E. V. Hill, who pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for years, tells the story of how “Mama's” love and prayers changed his life. During the height of the Depression, Hill's real mother, who had five children of her own, didn't have enough food to go around. So she sent four-year-old Ed to live with a friend in a small country town called Sweet Home. Ed just called this friend, “Mama.”
As he was growing up in Sweet Home, Mama displayed remarkable faith which led her to have big plans for young Ed. Against nearly insurmountable obstacles, Mama helped Ed graduate from high school (the only student to graduate that year from the country school) and even insisted that he go to college.
She took Ed to the bus station, handed him the ticket and five dollars and said, “Now, go off to Prairie View College, and Mama is going to be praying for you.” Hill claims that he didn't know much about prayer, but he knew Mama did. When he arrived at the college with a dollar and ninety cents in his pocket, they told him he needed eighty dollars in cash in order to register. Here's how Hill describes what happened next: