Prayer as Incense

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8


Prayer is a multifaceted spiritual exercise with a plethora of benefits. The more I study prayer and write about this spiritual exercise, the more awestruck I get about its spiritual purpose and function. Prayer is the love language of God. It is an invitation from the Almighty to commune with Him in spirit and truth. God is very protective and appreciative of our prayers. So much so that He hides them at His sacred altar in heaven.


Prayer is both an offensive and defensive spiritual exercise. When we pray, we are defending ourselves against demonic attacks. Through prayer we can protect ourselves, our children, our loved ones, our nation, and the world against the forces of darkness. Prayer gives us the spiritual fortitude and the confidence to defend our Christian faith against the ungodliness of this world. The mind of those who pray fervently is renewed for service and protected from a mental breakdown.


Prayer is also a potent offensive spiritual exercise. When we pray, we are attacking the demonic kingdom and releasing the favor of God over our lives. Prayer is indeed a potent spiritual weapon with which we can wage war against the world of darkness. Throughout the Old Testament, people would pray before going to battle. In Exodus 17:10-11, Moses went up the mountain to pray while the people were fighting the Amalekites in the valley. They defeated the Amalekites because Moses was praying.


The only way for believers to live in victory is by praying fervently. In today’s text, the twenty-four elders had a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. They did so as they prepared to lead the most ostentatious heavenly worship spectacle to celebrate the glory of our God. The elders used the prayers of God’s people to fill the throne of God with the incense of prayer. Wow!


Our prayers are not just for us, they are for the heavenly beings as well. They are not just petitions to God; they are incense for God. No prayer is ever wasted or discarded. Every prayer is recorded in heaven. Therefore, let us continue to pray fervently even when the answer from God is delayed.


When we are discouraged and frustrated because the answer to our prayer is delayed, we should remain persistent in prayer because prayer is a spiritual deposit in heaven’s bank account. God uses our prayer to balance heaven’s spiritual budget. Every time we call on the Lord in prayer, we decrease the influence of the devil in the world and in our lives and increase the Lordship of God over our lives.


In the Old Testament, incense was used in the temple to atone for the sins of the people. “The altar of incense is first mentioned in Exodus chapter 30 as one of the items inside the Holy Place of the tabernacle. In Scripture, incense is often associated with prayer. David prayed, “May my prayer be set before you like incense” (Psalm 141:2).” God welcomes our prayers as sweet-smelling incense that serenade His hearts and gives us access to His throne of grace so we can find mercy in our times of need.


Questions for Personal Reflection

Why is your prayer so precious to God?

How are you using the defensive and offensive power of prayer?


Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for giving me access to your throne of grace through prayer. May my prayer be received by you as a sweet-smelling offering. Please help me to remain fervent in prayer and persistent in my petition for myself and intercession for others.

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