The Prayers of God’s People
Revelation 5:8 tells us that the prayers of God’s people are kept in gold bowls and are like incense, much like the burnt offerings of the old testament were pleasing aromas to the Lord. My perspective on prayer has changed in the last year as prayer isn’t as accepted in my generation as the idea of ‘good vibes’ and ‘positive thoughts’ being spared as you read a Facebook post about a family going through a struggle. The enemy is trying to snuff out prayer because he knows the prayers of God’s people are powerful and are as incense unto the Lord and He doesn’t forget our prayers, even sixty years later.
In 1953 a woman named Irene waited for an update on her newborn grandson who was born seriously ill. Not knowing if he would live or die, Irene prayed. She told God she would commit her life to Him forever if He saved her grandson, which he did. Irene made good on her bargain with God and she gave her life to Jesus. Realizing the change in her life she devoted her time to praying for her family’s salvation.
Irene’s only child’s name was Lois, and she was married to Jim and they eventually had four children. Lois didn’t share her mother’s faith and over the course of her early life she faced depression, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and was a chain smoker. In her thirties when life seemed to be at it’s lowest Lois began watching evangelists on TV and one day she gave her heart to Jesus and was radically changed. She was healed of all her addictions and depression; finally, her mother’s prayers had been answered. Lois over time became a prayer warrior, praying for her children and husband to be saved and she boldly said, “Lord, whatever it takes.”
Lois and Jim had made their kids attend the local Lutheran church so the four, now grown kids who all had kids of their own, had an excellent knowledge of the Bible but didn’t know Jesus personally. Jim, Lois’ husband completely rejected the idea of Christianity, he would drive her to church on Sunday’s but never attend himself. His heart was so hard when it came to Jesus that once before undergoing a major surgery he was visited by Lois’ pastors who prayed the sinners prayer with him, immediately his response was, “I hope I haven’t just made a huge mistake.” The pastors were left speechless.
Lois’ third child Deb was in her thirties and had two small children, and her life and marriage was nothing as she expected it to be. What seemed like the end of the road and with nowhere else to turn she finally gave her heart to Jesus; and she was expecting everything in her life to improve immediately (which it didn’t). She had just begun her forty-year (and counting) journey to the Lord changing her life, but her mothers and grandmothers’ prayers had been answered that day and so she began praying for her own husband children.
In 2011 Lois passed away leaving behind her husband, her four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren; but the Lord remembered her prayers, one in particular; “Lord, whatever it takes.”
A year later in 2012 while Jim was home when a terrible fire broke out and destroyed everything. Jim had passed away a month after the fire due to smoke inhalation and organ failure. At first the family couldn’t believe a man who had survived World War 2, being a Prisoner of War in Germany, radiation and cancer had succumbed to a such freak accident. In the last month of being treated in the hospital, Deb took time to share with Jim about Jesus and Heaven, reminding him that the only way he would be reunited with his beloved Lo again was if he gave his heart to Jesus. After his passing Deb, her sister, and her daughters were given dreams and visions that confirmed that Jim had finally heard the Truth and gave his heart to Jesus. The fire that eventually took his life also gave his family time to pray with him, an opportunity that would have been lost if he had died peacefully in his sleep. The fire that took his home and eventually his life could only be described as revival fire from Heaven, the key to softening a man’s harden heart.
The Lord heard that powerful surrender of will from my grandmother. ‘Not my will but Yours, whatever it takes to save my family.’ My mom has shared with me for years how that prayer is serious, that He can and will use any means he sees fit to bring His children to Him, illness, depression, broken relationships, even disasters we don’t understand in the moment.
The prayers of those who came before us are still in those golden bowls and are still being answered! My great grandmother, grandmother, and mom didn’t save me, that was Jesus’ call on my own life, but their faithfulness to pray for the future generations influenced me and I can pass it along to my own children. Never cease praying. Even if you never live to see the results of those prayers they are cherished and are as incense to God and kept in a golden bowls.
And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Rev. 5:8