If you’re anything like me you send out several emails every day, and most seem to disappear into the ether. Sometimes it is discouraging, not to mention a little annoying when people don’t respond, although am I perfect in this regard?! But when I thought about it, I realised that so often this is what praying feels like. Whether you’re praying as part of a routine, or as a panicked cry for help, you speak your words to God and you wait for a response. If we’re honest, though, often that response never seems to come and we are met with silence. Some of us may have given up waiting altogether as the silence itself becomes deafening. However we might feel about prayer, we should resist the temptation to let our experience inform us about what’s going on. God has spoken to us many times on this subject, and the message is clear; God values our prayers.
On Wednesday night we met as a Church to pray for our Church and the nation. At the end of the evening I silently asked God a simple question, “If there’s anything You want to say to us tonight, we’re listening.” The answer was immediate and clear. He said, very simply, “Your prayers are valuable to Me.” This caught me a little by surprise, firstly at how clearly He spoke, but secondly because the message was so simple it was almost underwhelming. I spoke back and said, “Yes we know You hear us,” but immediately as I tried to minimise the message He took me to Revelation 5:8. In that verse is a seemingly small detail, “they (the Elders) were holding golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” At that moment I understood. It isn’t the case that as we cast our prayers they are met with silence, no, they are received with joy. Each prayer we make is not only received by God, but listened to, and treasured forever. And God says He not only hears our prayers but experiences them in a way similar to incense, a sweet aroma that fills Him with pleasure.
I’d like to encourage you as you finish this article to take a moment to pray to Him. As you do so, remember that, not only are you being heard, but your words bring Him great joy.