There are a lot of wonderful smells in this world. Some of my favorite, particularly this time of year, are a fresh cut hay field as well as the big lilac bush we have in our backyard. Another one of my favorite smells is that of a wood stove on a cold winter’s night. One of our previous houses had a wood stove and I always loved coming home and opening the door to that distinct smell.
In Revelations 8 we read about the seventh seal being opened resulting in silence in heaven for 30 minutes. Then we read in verses 3-4, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all 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”. Certainly there is some symbolism in this passage but one can’t help to get a grasp of imagery of the prayers of the saint’s. If you are like me and have a regular prayer life, I’m sure there are times when you too wonder how much of an effect our prayers are having. We certainly believe in our hearts that God hears our prayers but sometimes Satan loves to whisper in our ears that our praying is just a waste of time. However this passage reminds us that our prayers are not just lost to space but that they are instead likened to that of a sweet smelling incense rising up before God himself. Just a few chapters earlier we read in Rev. 5:8, that the 24 elders had “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
An example of the impact of prayer is seen in another one of our passages for the day. In Isaiah 38 we read of the prophet Isaiah coming to Hezekiah and telling him to get his house in order because he is about to die. What was Hezekiah’s response? Verse 2 simply says that he “turned his face toward the wall and prayed.” Was his prayer lost to time and space? Was it a waste of time? No! As a result of his simple prayer, God granted him 15 more years. We certainly understand that God does not answer every request of ours exactly the way we would wish but the point remains the same, God hears our prayers!