Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Silence and Prayer





Scripture

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
(Revelation 5:8 NASB)
When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
(Revelation 8:1 NASB)
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.
(Revelation 8:4 NASB)

Observation

What is the connection between silence and prayer? Here in John's Revelation we find an interesting sequence of events. First of all, it appears that God, in heaven, has saved up the prayers of all the saints. The elders bowing before the Lamb are carrying the bowls which are filled with prayers. Next there comes a time when the seventh seal is broken, that it creates such a moment of overwhelming emotion, that the only response is one of silence. All of heaven is silent for half an hour. At the end of that time, again the prayers of the saints are brought before God.

Application

How often do we simply jump into prayer time and it becomes a list of things we would like God to do for us. Prayer is a special and unique gift given to us by God in which we are to have a very intimate relationship with Him. The intimacy of this relationship is illustrated by what we have read today in Revelation. Those prayers are not to be a wish list of what we want God to do for us, but rather, they are to Him, love notes that are kept and treasured for years to come. Why else would He save them and have them placed before Him like incense. I have stacks of notes which I've kept from my husband through the years. They are precious to me. Those notes don't ask me for anything, but rather, are words of love and encouragement. That's what prayer is supposed to be like -- words of love and blessing spoken to the heavenly Father who loves us more than we can even imagine. And those prayers -- it seems that they don't end when we stop speaking them. Rather, God saves them up and they continue to move into God's future in ways that we can't even imagine. Prayer is the key to our intimate relationship with God.
 
And then comes silence. There are times when the news may be so overwhelming that there is no response. No prayers. No answers. Just stunned silence. And yet, God is there in the silence. All of heaven stood still for thirty minutes, overcome by what the scroll revealed. You can imagine no one moving, and in that, God doesn't move either. He continues to be facing humanity, reaching out to us and trying to draw us back to Him. He never turns His back -- even in the silence.

After the silence has passed, once again the prayers of the saints are able to be brought before God.


Prayer is an intimate time in God's holy presence and it's the call of every one of His followers to become a saint -- and to lift our prayers to Him. We must make time today -- every day -- to come quietly before Him, be ushered into His presence, and allow Him to guide the conversation. Be willing to simply sit in silence and allow Him to take the lead. And your prayers will go on forever.

Prayer

Lord, thanks for the silence. Wow! Amen.

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