Answers to Prayers

Evan R. C. Reynolds, Oxford

Category: Exposition

"Men ought always to pray", Luke 18. 1; "Pray without ceasing", 1 Thess. 5. 17. But we become so easily discouraged if we cannot see answers to our hearts' entreaties. Then let us see from the Word of God that our prayers can be effective beyond one's wildest expectations, 3 Eph. 3. 20.

In the presence of God there are four worshipping living creatures, equip­ped to go swiftly about the business of the throne, and possessing many eyes of perception, Rev. 4. 8. There are also 24 honourably enthroned and crowned elders of mature wisdom, who respond with words and actions to the adoration of God by the four, 4. 4, 10, 11. When the Lamb comes to the centre of the circle, along with their obeisance the 24 elders (and perhaps the living creatures too) are provided with harps to accompany their song, and bowls (A.V., "vials"), 5. 6-9. Now these bowls are beautiful and costly; they are made of gold. They will, of course, be charged with appropriately exquisite scent which will pervade that holy throne room. It will be superior to the essence of any plant on earth, because it will signify spiritual and heavenly values. Fellowbeliever, prayers are contained in those bowls. This is the destination of prayer, for such is the calibre of prayer when presented be­fore the highest of thrones. God and the Lamb are pleased to have them permeating that sacred and glorious place. See, the bowls are full! Each of us should ask, "What have I contri­buted now to the tally of the prayers of saints?" Of course, since it is the work of Christ which has constituted us saints, the appropriateness of our prayers to the glory of the Godhead is another aspect of His perfect work. The many, many facets of our prayers are all represented by those subtlely intermingling '"odours" emanating from the bowls.

ment saint, said, "Lord, I cry unto thee . . . Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense", Psa. 141. 1, 2. "The time of incense" was the time of also has a censer of gold. It is charged with fire from the altar, and hurled to earth. The ground and sky respond with restless portents accompanied with voices which emanate from the throne. Rev. 8. 5, and presumably command God's righteous judgments. Every cry of oppressed saints for each indignity suffered contributes to the inevitable aftermath of that censer crashing to earth. What a solemn thing it is to pour out our hearts to our Father, but what attention He gives to our breathings, and what far-reaching answers they receive!

lang=en-GB style=" MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm; MARGIN-LEFT: 0.02cm; TEXT-INDENT: 0.32cm; LINE-HEIGHT: 0.37cm" align=justify>If the bowls or vials in Revelation 5. 8 were filled with the sweet odours of believers' prayers, were these same bowls handed by a living creature to seven angels at the end of the judg­ments?, Rev. 15. 7 to 16. 1. This time they prove to be "full of the wrath of God". The glory of God's justice overshadows every other facet of activ­ity in heaven till the work of judgment is completed. And so the contents of those golden bowls are poured upon the earth. With solemnity the seventh angel of the bowls displays the specific results on the counterfeit, prostituted Christendom of the end of the age. Rev. 16. 17; ch. 17. But when that is over, one of these selfsame angels has the delightful task of introducing the apostle John to the pure and glorious bride and wife of the Lamb, contrast­ing detail by detail with harlot Babylon.

While here on earth, "Before our Father's throne, We pour our ardent prayers" in faith, expecting an answer. And answered those prayers will be! But in the coming day the saints will have direct access to the throne, Rev. 21. 22; 22. 1, 3, 4; "they shall see his face".