May these words of mine . . . be near to the Lord our God day and night. 1 Kings 8:59
The Clark’s Nutcracker is an amazing bird. Every year it prepares for winter by hiding tiny caches of four or five whitebark pine seeds, as many as five hundred seeds per hour. Then, months later, it returns to uncover the seeds, even under heavy snow. A Clark’s Nutcracker may remember as many as ten thousand locations where it has hidden seeds—an astounding feat (especially when you consider the difficulty we humans can have remembering the location of our car keys or glasses).
But even this incredible act of memory pales in comparison with God’s ability to remember our prayers. He’s able to keep track of every sincere prayer and remember and respond to them even years later. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John describes “four living creatures” and “twenty-four elders” worshiping the Lord in heaven. Each one was “holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people” (5:8).
Just as incense was precious in the ancient world, our prayers are so precious to God that He keeps them before Him continually, treasured in golden bowls! Our prayers matter to God because we matter to Him, and through His undeserved kindness to us in Jesus He offers us uninhibited access (Hebrews 4:14–16). So pray boldly! And know that not a word will be forgotten or misplaced because of the amazing love of God.
How does it encourage you to know God never forgets your prayers? Who do you need to pray for today?
Heavenly Father, please give me the perseverance to pray faithfully and the faith to look for what You alone can do.
While it may surprise us that the book of Revelation explicitly mentions prayer only three times, what it says about the prayers of the saints is encouraging. The word prayers is mentioned in Revelation 5:8, 8:3, and 8:4, along with the word incense each time. “He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people. . . . The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand” (8:3–4). Aromatic incense in the Old Testament accompanied the sacrifices offered to God. The offering of fragrant incense preceded the offering of the first sacrifice of the day and followed the last offering (see Exodus 30:7–8). The priestly nature of his prayers did not escape David: “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).