April 24 2022
Today, Sunday April 24
Praying or Quitting Revelation 8:1-6 “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
I will never forget something I heard Dr. Jerry Falwell say often when I was a student at Lynchburg Baptist College fifty years ago. He said, “Nothing of eternal value ever happens apart from prayer”. Here in Revelation 8 the “prayers of the saints” are mentioned two times in verse 3 & 4 as the seventh seal is opened and the angel with the golden censor with incense offers it with these prayer before the throne.
As I look back over the 48 years, I have served in ministry, I would have to confess the hardest thing I’ve had to do is to get Christians to do is to pray. They will show up for concerts, they will participate in mission trips, they will serve in the church and in the community, they will give money for special projects and they will attend special Bible studies and church services regularly. But when you ask them to come back for a special service of prayer, or come to an early 6:30am Saturday morning prayer time, or participate in an all night prayer vigil, only a handful will show up!
It appears to me if there is one thing the devil wants to do it is to keep us off our knees. I believe it was John Wesley who said, “The devil trembles when the weakest Christian gets on his knees”. Jesus said in Luke 18:1 that “men ought to pray and not lose heart (faint).” This means to pray and not to give up and quit. We are either praying as we should, or we are quitting.
I am convinced that genuine prayer is coming with our whole heart, with all our mind and with great desire into the presence of God Almighty. Prayer is personally communing with the God of the universe! Someone said, “Prayer is a sense of helplessness!” Prayer is realizing if God doesn’t help and aid me with His strength and grace, I will not make it!
In Luke 11:1, the disciples had seen Jesus praying in a certain place and they were motivated to ask Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” It is never recorded that Jesus’ disciples ask Him to teach them how to preach, or how to do miracles, or how to heal people, or how to draw a big crowd. But they did ask Him to teach them to pray! And in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels we find that Jesus answered this request and gave them specific instructions.
Jesus taught them to enter into the place and spirit of prayer by praising and acknowledging God as their Father and where He was. And the very first request Jesus told them to pray for was, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Well here in the Book of Revelation, this prayer that the saints have prayed over the centuries is about to be answered as the Seven-year Tribulation begins and then ends with Jesus coming to earth to set up His kingdom.
Today we might need to ask the Lord to forgive us for being so distracted with the world around us, and our plans and activities, and to forgive us for the sin of neglecting to take time to pray! Someone said the greatest sin we can commit is the sin of prayerlessness! Maybe today we should ask the Lord to teach us to pray and become an intercessor for His kingdom and stand in the gap! (Ezekiel 22:30)