2011-06-30 - Incense
Rev 5:8 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. (NASB)
The risen Christ is seen in the form of a lamb - the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The days of longsuffering of God - patience with humanity is at an end. The Lamb is about to break the seals on the scroll that will initiate devastation like this world has not seen in our history. And what is found held close to the Lord in the two innermost circles surrounding the throne but the prayers of the saints.
Our prayers cover the range of possibilities for ourselves and others: healing, finances, salvation, repentance, praise, requests of all myriad shapes and sizes. Some have a selfish thread - we ask for more time with a dying friend or loved one. We're not ready for them to walk through the veil into eternity. Others are selfless - Here am I Lord. Send me. (Isa 6:8) The threads that go through all of these are that we are confident God can do these things. They are requests. Will he meet our request, or accept our offer of service?
There are prayers for salvation of those around us, and prayers that God's kingdom will come soon. Those may seem opposed to each other, and in one way they are. The first requires time while the second will end time. But they are both thoughts of God and of His people. One that God's greatest gift would be accepted by others, and the other that our longing to be home with God and at rest from the war with the our flesh, the world and our enemy will be at an end.
How many times a day are we confronted with someone who has a serious need? Do we miss some and recognize it later? Is our reaction to pray? Do we see the world around us in need of salvation?
In Matt 28:19 Jesus final instructions to His disciples were to make disciples of all nations.
Lord - grant us eyes to see and ears to hear the needs around us and hearts to be responsive to those needs and Your call. Amen.
Grace & Peace,