GOD’S PRAYER STORE
Father, forgive me that I sometimes attempt to manipulate you. I confess my hunger for recognition. Forgive my selfish, sinful heart.
Read REVELATION 8
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
8 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
- Revelation 8:11 Wormwood is a bitter substance.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectJohn Wesley often started his prayers by giving thanks for all God’s blessings, ‘spiritual and temporal’. What ‘spiritual and temporal’ blessings can you give thanks for today? Turn your thoughts into prayer.
As history’s final seal is opened (v 1), judgment ends – wars cease, suffering ends, and the earth is still and silent before God (see Psalm 46:8–10). Finally, the prayers of the suffering saints (6:9,10) are answered, as God sends their stored intercessions hurtling to have their effect on the earth (3–5).
If you have ever wondered whether there was any point in praying, whether prayer actually changes anything at all, this image is a great encouragement to persevere. No prayer is wasted, even if currently it is waiting for God’s time.
As God answers the prayers of the saints for justice, we hear the first four of seven trumpets announcing God’s war against all that is set against him in his world. Much of the imagery here echoes the plagues in Exodus. God’s warfare against all that oppresses his people was not just a historic act in Egypt, but a continuing one, and one which will climax as the seventh trumpet blows (but we must wait until chapter 11 for that!). In the meantime (spoiler alert): take heart, God wins.
Are there any long-term prayers that remain unanswered for you? Find the courage to pray again, and put another deposit in God’s prayer store.
Gracious God, I know you answer prayer, perhaps not in the way or time I anticipate. Help me to trust you more when you say no, or wait.
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