First Baptist Church of Rockville

The Prayer of the Saints Unleashes the Will of God

* A young man went into a drugstore to buy 3 boxes of chocolate: small, medium, and large. When the pharmacist asked him about the three boxes, he said, “well, I'm going over to my new girlfriend's house for supper. Then we are going out for the evening. If she only lets me hold her hand, then I'll give her the small box. If she lets me kiss her on the cheek, then I'll give her the medium box. But if she really lets me smooch seriously, I'll give her the large box."

* He made his purchase and left. That evening as he sat down for dinner with his girlfriend's family, ... he asked if he could say the prayer before the meal. He began to pray, ... and he prayed a most earnest, and intense prayer that lasted for almost five minutes. When he finished his girlfriend said, "You never told me you were such a man of prayer." He said, "You never told me your dad was a pharmacist!"

Theme: “There is an amazing connection between the prayers of the saints and the end of the world. The gathered prayers of God's people are portrayed here as the instrument God uses to bring this world to its appointed destination.”

* Our world has accepted the belief that the world is coming to an end.  It brings fear to young and old today.  They talk about a Meteorite strike or climate change to the point that no life will be left on earth.

* They are right about only one thing.  There is a day coming when this world we live in and know will end.  Satan has blinded them and they fear weather, pollution and man-made disasters.  They believe they can stop that day from coming.

* Beloved, we should fear a holy and all powerful God. People of this world scoff and laugh at such an idea.

* Last Sunday, I presented to you the importance of God’s people praying together.  Private and corporate prayer to shake the foundations of this old world.

* This morning, I would like to continue looking at this call to prayer.

  1. Every prayer is important to Jesus.

Revelation 8:1, “When heopened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”

* Beloved, who is the ‘he’?

Revelation 5:3-6, “And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

* It has been suggested that all of Heaven will be praying.  This moment is so powerful even the angels that cry out “holy, holy is the Lord God almighty…” will be silent.  Heaven is actually holding its breath!

Revelations 8:2-3, “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incenseto offer, with the prayers of all God’s people,on the golden altar in front of the throne.The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”

* In the Old Testament the priest would carry the coals from the altar separate from the incense.  When it was time they would combine the incense to the hot coals to create a wonderful aroma.

Exodus 30:1, 6-8, “You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you.And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it.Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it,and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lordthroughout your generations.

* Aaron would burn incense for God morning and evening this was outside the Holy place. Once a year Aaron would go into the Holy place and burn incense inside.

Leviticus 16:12-13, “And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil13 and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.”

* Beloved, don’t let me lose you. The only difference between these texts is the ingredients of the saint’s prayers.  Our prayers are so important to Jesus. Notice they are added to the incense.

* We will see latter that just adding prayers creates a powerful reaction. Chemistry 101, don’t add prayers we could be blown up!

* No matter how insignificant our prayers are they are important and powerful to Jesus.

* Leon Morris said this about this passage: "The saints [of God] appear insignificant to men at large. But in the sight of God they matter. Even great cosmic cataclysms are held back on their account. And the praises of the angels give way to silence so that the saints may be heard." (Leon Morris, The Revelation of John, p. 119.)

  1. We cannot pray enough.

Revelation 8:4, “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”

* The Jews, in the first century, limited prayer to three times a day, so they would not wear God out by their petitions. But Jesus taught quite the opposite. God inhabits our praise and our prayers.

* The real danger is that we will run out of energy and give up praying.

* Last Sunday, I shared with you some information about the Fulton Street revival that took place in 1857.

* Fortunately, an eyewitness account, published in 1858, has come down to us. At 12 noon, punctual to the moment, at the first stroke of the clock the leader arises and commences the meeting by reading two or three verses of the hymn, Salvation, oh the joyful sound, ’Tis pleasure to our ears; A sovereign balm for every wound, A cordial for our fears. Each person finds a hymnbook in his seat; all sing with heart and voice. The leader offers a prayer—short, pointed, to the purpose. Then reads a brief portion of Scripture. Ten minutes are now gone. Meantime, requests in sealed envelopes have been going up to the desk for prayer. A deep, solemn silence settles down upon our meeting. It is holy ground.The leader stands with slips of paper in his hand. He says: “This meeting is now open for prayer. All is now breathless attention. A tender solicitude spreads over all those upturned faces The chairman reads: “A son in North Carolina desires the fervent, effectual prayers of the righteous of this congregation for the immediate conversion of his mother in Connecticut.” In an instant a father rises: “I wish to ask the prayers of this meeting for two sons and a daughter.” And he sits down and bursts into tears, and lays his head down on the railing of the seat before him, and sobs like a broken-hearted child.

  1. God uses the prayers of His saints to accomplishing mighty works.

Revelation 8:3-5, “And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

* Beloved, what a wonderful sacrifice we can offer to God; and there are always angelic hands waiting to bring our prayers to God.

Revelation 5:7-10, “And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (prayers become incense).And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

* Beloved, I would like to suggest to you that just maybe one of those prayers used by God might be yours!  Think about it.  Your prayers use to set things right in the sight of God.

* Beloved our prayers are never lost or forgotten.

Dr. E. V. Hill, who pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for years, tells the story of how “Mama's” love and prayers changed his life. During the height of the Depression, Hill's real mother, who had five children of her own, didn't have enough food to go around. So she sent four-year-old Ed to live with a friend in a small country town called Sweet Home. Ed just called this friend, “Mama.” As he was growing up in Sweet Home, Mama displayed remarkable faith which led her to have big plans for young Ed. Against nearly insurmountable obstacles, Mama helped Ed graduate from high school (the only student to graduate that year from the country school) and even insisted that he go to college. She took Ed to the bus station, handed him the ticket and five dollars and said, “Now, go off to Prairie View College, and Mama is going to be praying for you.” Hill claims that he didn't know much about prayer, but he knew Mama did. When he arrived at the college with a dollar and ninety cents in his pocket, they told him he needed eighty dollars in cash in order to register. Here's how Hill describes what happened next: “I got in line and the devil said to get out of line but I heard my Mama saying in my ear, ‘I'll be praying for you.’ I stood in line on Mama's prayer. Soon there was [another new student ahead of me], and I began to get nervous, but I stayed in line. Just about the time [the other student] got all of her stuff and turned away, Dr. Drew touched me on the shoulder, and he said, ‘Are you Ed Hill?’ “I said, ‘Yes.’ “‘Are you Ed Hill from Sweet Home?’ “‘Yes.’ “‘Have you paid yet?’ “‘Not quite.’ ‘We’ve been looking for you all this morning,’” [Dr. Drew said]. And E.V. Hill asked, “Well, what do [you] want with me?” Dr. Drew replied, “We have a four-year scholarship that will pay your room and board, your tuition, and give you thirty dollars a month to spend.” And E.V. Hill remembered Mama saying, “I will be praying for you!”

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