1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
Today there is a pause, contextually a very long pause. We’ve had seven chapters of things to do, see, hear, and watch, then now there is silence for about half an hour. This might not seem a long time, but amidst constant worship, praise, and the joyous shouts of a multitude of redeemed people half an hour of silence would seem like an eternity.
What brings about the pause? The Lamb opened the seventh of the seals, which we said were sealing the will of God, His plan for redemption and for humanity for all time. The last seal is opened and there is a stunned, awe-filled silence in heaven.
Then two things appear; first, seven trumpets are given to seven angels. These are trumpets used to sound alarm, call forth warriors into battle and to gather an assembly, not trumpets you might have played in school (as I did!). These are war trumpets, instruments of rousing, blown to say ‘Get ready for battle!’, not to serenade someone with a mellow brass rendition of Silent Night.
So we are getting ready for action, but the second thing appears; another angel comes with a golden censer, containing incense and the prayers of the saints, and they rise before God.
Before battle then, prayers are given to God, the prayers of the saints are sent before God.
How important is prayer!
Before God sends forth His righteous judgement on a fallen earth and people He wants to hear from His people first!
God wants to hear from you, and from me, and from anyone who has called on the name of the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.
We do things in an order which we think is important, don’t we? Think about our church service…when we begin the service, we begin with a prayer because it’s important we start the service in the right frame of mind and it sets the tone for everything that follows. We finish the service with a word of blessing from God’s Word so we leave feeling filled, fed, and fired up for the week ahead. We do things in an order which we feel is important.
This is the case here, for sure. God wants to hear our prayers before the trumpets are blown and judgement comes.
What if there was a prayer from you in there?
What if there was a prayer from a loved one confessing Jesus as their Lord and Saviour?
Wouldn’t you want God to have heard that before judgement comes?
See, our great and merciful God desires that none should perish, but that all should come to repent of former ways and nail their colours to the mast of Jesus, as He was nailed to the cross.
So, prayer. Prayer is wonderfully powerful, prayer can achieve much. God wants us to pray, we are made to pray, formed for conversation with our maker, and, thanks to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, we can exercise this ability whenever we so choose.