The book of Revelation offers Christians a grand picture of God's redemptive purposes for his creation. In Revelation the great themes of the Bible come together to show us that God is sovereign in his power, faithful to his promises, and sure to act for his glory and our good. Revelation is supremely about our Triune God. He alone is the central figure around which all creation will one day gather to worship. In Revelation God is central, but God's people play a vital role nonetheless. In Rev. 8:1-5 we are given a picture of God's final judgment upon the earth. This judgment is ultimately prompted by the prayers of God's people. In vivid imagery the prayers of the saints are presented as incense offered before God's throne (vs. 3). These prayers rise to God (vs. 4). As God hears the prayers, he is apparently pleased by them. An angel takes the censor that contained the prayers, fills it with fire, and casts it upon the earth (vs. 5). The accompanying "thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake" (vs. 5) indicate that God has finally come to judge as a response to the prayers of the saints. All of this dramatic imagery shows us that God truly hears the prayers of his people and acts to answer them.
Two questions arise for us from this imagery. First, will you pray? Second, will your prayers matter?
It is this second question that grips me this morning. Will my prayers matter? When God answers the prayers of the saints in Revelation 8, the world changes, God comes in awesome glory, every evil is done away with, and all things are made new. This forces the question upon us, are we praying for the same ends? Are we praying in such a way that, when God answers, all things will be made new?
Today, when you pray, rejoice in the truth that God hears your prayers and answers them, and consider how your prayers really might change the world for the glory of God and the good of His people. Remember how God answers the prayers of the saints in Revelation 8. Is that what the answer to your prayers might look like?
Friends, don't waste your prayers! May we instead learn to pray as Isaiah prayed, "Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down..." (Isaiah 64:1)!