3 Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. 5 Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.
This is one of the most vivid and profound images of the power of prayer. It affirms the significance and effectiveness of prayer in both the natural and supernatural worlds. When God’s people pray it moves God and His angels to act. It causes things to be that would not have been. It brings justice where there would have been continued injustice. It brings healing where there would have been continued brokenness. It brings sure hope where there would have been despair.
What is frightening to me is the converse. If Christians don’t pray, then the bowls stay empty, and the power of God as it moves on earth is stayed or postponed. More personally speaking, if I don’t pray, then I allow the continuation of sorrow, loss, pain, fear, anxiety, illness, hatred, greed, offense, etc., to reign in both my life, my wife and children’s lives, and on behalf of those the Spirit has called me to war in prayer.
I encourage and challenge you to invoke the redeeming power of God and His Kingdom and “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere”(Ephesians 6:18).