I would like to share with you one of the greatest helps to my prayer life. It consists of a new understanding.
I had been tempted to the sin of those Jews who complained about seeking God in general:
“It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge … ?” (Malachi 3:14)
When prayers are not visibly answered, we may think our prayers go nowhere. Laboring under that belief, the habit of praying will eventually peter out.
But Revelation 5 tells us there is a censer in heaven where every prayer that has ever been prayed has landed.
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).
These prayers have been accumulating for millennia—the prayers of “thy kingdom come,” for your unsaved husband, for your prodigal children. Someday they will reach critical mass. When all is revealed in the end, you will find the prayer you prayed on a train, in your car, and in your bed alone when nobody saw you crying.
Why does John’s heavenly tour guide mention the censer at this place in his book? Because it is part of the appurtenances of the throne room of heaven that John being shown in chapters 4 and 5. And the throne room of God is the control tower of the universe. In the next chapter, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will be dispatched to commence God’s judgment of the earth. We are meant to connect the dots from the golden censer to the horses’ mission.
Keep praying, Christian. Not one of your prayers has been ignored. Not one has slipped through the cracks, not one has been of no use. I do not know exactly how God will answer all your prayers that you thought were for naught, but I know that He will. He has been collecting them, as avidly as a child collected beautiful seashells on the shore. You are not wasting your time. Pray with confidence. And don’t stop praying.