Persistence is one of those terms we as Christ- followers hear a lot about. This summer I dove into studying on what it means to strengthen your prayer life. Then, (some days more successfully than others) began practicing what this looks like on a daily basis. Maybe you’ve seen the power of prayer immediately unfold before you, resulting in God answering questions, providing specific needs that were asked for, or performed Prayer is incomprehensible to our human brains. There is something so incredible that occurs when we wait after praying, resulting in an impact so large the Earth can’t hold the power of our spoken words.
“Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”
In Revelation it is described how impactful our prayers are, unlike anywhere else in the Bible. Paul writes about the vision God has allowed him to see and catch an insight into His holiness. Revelation 5:8 describes what happens when we pray, as this: “When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense,which are the prayers of the saints'' (CSB). The second half of the verse is the key point to focus on: “Each one had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints''. Towards the 100-day mark of the pandemic, my pastor introduced the teaching and explained the meaning of “golden bowls''. While Revelation is the most futuristic and symbolic book of the Bible, it is also the most descriptive of Heaven and showcases the Lord’s incredible power and we catch a glimpse of His system - the roles played in Heaven and certain job descriptions.
While Revelation can be overwhelming and confusing to understand, I think it’s easier to read and try to wrap our human minds around when we direct it - breaking the passages down one-by-one and recognizing what it is the Lord is trying to describe and share with us. For instance, I’ve always overlooked this aspect of Revelation and now find the most comfort in this detail. God is sharing how He has created “golden bowls” in Heaven and they are filled with prayers. The prayers of the saints can be read about in other chapters, as this passage is showcasing more so of the impact these prayers have. Revelation continues to explain the impact of these bowls in verse 8:3-5 “Another angel, with a golden incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand. The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”(CSB).
When we pray, those prayers travel to heaven, catching God’s ear and finding a home in the golden bowls. When the bowls are filled to the brim, the angels empty the bowls, turning them over so the contents of them - the Holiness - are hurled back down to Earth with the answer/ comfort needed. Our prayers are so powerful they cause an Earthly reaction. The world doesn’t know how to translate what God is sending to us. The power of our prayers causes thunder, lightning, and earthquakes.
We pray not to get our way. We pray to change the world around us.
Each time we pray, our words and our faith fill the golden bowls of heaven. Keep praying and sending your thoughts, feelings, and actions to God. The next time you hear or see thunder, lightning or feel an earthquake- know this is a direct result of God answering your prayers and the world’s prayers. You are witnessing His power. When we feel there’s a spiritual drought, keep praying and take a moment to stop, step back and examine what God is doing around us. We can easily fixate on God not answering our prayers and providing the exact things we are asking for that our ideas and focus can be blinded, hiding His holiness.
Read more from Macaila Britton at MacailaBritton.com and look out for the next instalment of this Christmas holiday series.