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“And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand,” (Rev 8:3, 4).

In these two verses John sees an angel in the heavenly sanctuary standing at the altar of incense. The angel is carrying a golden censer that is mixed with the prayers of God’s people. After the incense was added, the prayers of the saints ascended up before God, and they were accepted because they were made fragrant with the incense. David also understood what was typified by the incense, and prayed; “Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice,” (Psalm 141:2).

What we have in Rev 8:3, 4 is an explanation of what happened to the millions of prayers of the saints that cried out again and again to the Lord. Not one of these prayers, prayed in faith, was ignored. Not one was lost or forgotten. Not one has been ineffectual or pointless. You will note also that in verse 3, it is the prayers of ‘all the saints’ that are on the altar before the throne.

There is no distinction between the prayers that come from pastors or elders and those of others. There is no distinction between the prayers expressed in eloquent language and those consisting of simple words. There is no distinction between the prayers of mature saints and those of baby Christians.

What it means is that regardless of your background, your heritage, your education, your social status, your position in life; if you have committed your life to Jesus, then your prayers are just as valuable to God as those of anyone else. Frequently many Christians today travel long distances to ask for pastors to pray for them. And many of those requests indicate that people think that prayers of some people are somehow more powerful or influential with God than their own prayers would be. This passage certainly shows that just isn’t true. The Spirit cannot present the prayers of sinful mortals before a pure and holy God without adding the fragrant incense. Jesus said; “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you,” (John 16:23).

The name of the precious Redeemer is honored it is like the fragrant incense, and every petition presented in His name is granted because Jesus lived a sinless life. He ‘knew no sin’. The prince of this world had nothing in Jesus (John 14:30), for He was pure and holy, without one stain of sin. It is Christ’s righteousness that makes our prayers accepted before the Father.

Dear reader, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).

Gwinyai Bopoto

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