Estimate right now how many prayers you have said in just your lifetime. Think about the ones you have said in fear, in hope, in frustration, in panic. God has heard each and every one. He values them so much that they don’t just disappear into the air. Sometimes they feel like they do, sometimes they feel like they are hitting the ceiling. But the scripture very specifically tell us where our prayers go.
Revelation 8 says … 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
The prayers of “all the saints” that have been piling up on the altar. If you wonder where your prayers go and what God does with them, here is one of the answers. They go onto an altar before his throne.
If us human beings can invent a microchip that holds millions of bytes of communication, it is not difficult to imagine that God has no trouble at all devising a way to preserve on his altar every prayer that has ever been prayed in the name of Jesus.
The amazing thing about this scripture is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.
Millions upon millions of prayers over the last 2,000 years as the saints have cried out again and again are stored in heaven. Not one of these prayers, prayed in faith, has been ignored. Exercising your prayer muscle is never ever in vain. Pouring your time and energy into prayer, whether you see the results now or not, is never a waste of a second. Not one is lost or forgotten. Not one has been ineffectual or pointless. They have all been gathering on the altar before the throne of God.
And the flame has been growing brighter and brighter and more and more pleasing in the presence of God. And the time will come when God will command his holy angel to take his mighty censer and fill it with fire from the altar where the prayers burn before the Lord, and pour it out on the world to bring all God’s great and holy purposes to completion. Which means that the pinnacle of history will be because of the prayers of the saints who cry to God day and night. Not one God-exalting prayer has ever been in vain. This is an astonishing tribute to the enormous historical importance of prayer. This should challenge us to pray, pray unceasingly. Pray as if God is saving every, single word to use.
What God wants us to believe about our God-exalting prayers is that none of them is lost. None is wasted or pointless. They are stored up on the altar of God until the proper time when God pours them out on the earth to accomplish his great purposes of judgment and redemption.