2009-08-01 - Not So Feeble
Revelation 8:3, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense as given to Him, that He might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."
We have a picture of an angel, who is Christ, offering up with much incense, the prayers of the saints. Jesus presents the saints prayers before the Father (Hebrews 7:25), and it is a great blessing to us to consider this as we pray. It is a great motivation to us to pray.
Consider that this is the scene in Heaven that John is being shown: Christ taking the prayers of the saints and bringing them, before the altar, into the presence of the Father. Our prayers, even when we feel they are of little worth, make it to Christ and He offers them up. You may think your prayers are feeble but they are not feeble when Christ gets hold of them.
Also, let us consider that it is the prayers of all the saints that Christ offers up. He offers the prayers of saints 10 generations ago - maybe members of your own family who are long forgotten. He offers up the prayers of saints who lived 1000 years ago, 1400 years ago, and so on. Our prayers are joined with their prayers and they are made effectual prayers before God because Christ, who is the brightness of His Father's glory, offers them in our stead. He does not offer the prayers as they are but He adds "much incense." He makes our prayers acceptable to God. We bring our poor prayers to Christ and He makes them rich. He signs His name to our prayers and makes them effectual.
We are going to have a small season of prayer at our church this coming week. We certainly are the definition of poor saints who offer feeble prayers but this verse is a wonderful encouragement to us to persevere on in our prayers. Our numbers might be few, we might sometimes not even know what to say in our prayers, but Christ is our sure hope in Heaven and He takes those prayers and brings them "before the throne." We must pray to be heard. Christ can't offer prayers that have gone un-prayed. But the promise here is that the prayer that is prayed is taken, perfected and brought before God. It is heard.
Sometimes when we think that we have prayed well we are only feeding our pride. It is the humble prayer of the heart, the prayer of dependence and need, the prayer that we hardly know how to pray, that is the prayer that is heard. When we feel we have done a good job in our prayers we are more likely to have fed our vanity. It is when we have reached down and poured out our hearts in supplication that we have really prayed. What is the prayer that avails much? It is that needy prayer of the publican, Luke 18:9-14, "God be merciful to me, the sinner!" that reaches Heaven. Prayers that are perfect in the eyes of man are not so in the eyes of the Lord. All our prayers need "much incense," but it is the constant seeking the Lord, Luke 18:1-8, and the humble-like prayer of the publican that are most pleasing to the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria,