Have you ever wondered if your prayers really do any good? Do they matter? Does God truly pay attention to what you pray? The resounding, joyful answer is an absolute — yes! One of the most beautiful reminders of this fact is recorded in Revelation 8:3-4: “Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great quantity of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people, to be offered on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of the saints, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.”
If our prayers didn’t matter, there wouldn’t be so many encouragements in God’s Word to do that very thing, and to do it with regularity. Our prayers matter for so many reasons: they keep our own minds concentrated on the holiness and goodness of God, prayers replace our worries with God’s own peace, prayers keep us focused upward on the possibilities of God rather than on the impossibilities of ourselves, prayers give hope in situations that otherwise fill us with despair. Prayer comforts, brings joy,and adds peace in our hearts no matter what winds of trouble blow around us. That’s what prayer does for us.
What does prayer do for God? Our heavenly Father never forces His will upon us. Even when He knows we are taking wrong paths and making unhelpful choices, He leaves the will to seek Him or not, up to us. When we make that choice to ask for God’s guidance and His comfort, we see from the above passage of Scripture, that our prayers are so precious to our heavenly Father, that He collects them. Angels guard them and offer them on the golden altar of God Almighty, where the sweet incense of our prayers waft up to His very presence on His throne. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of just how precious are our prayers to our Father? Isn’t this a lovely reminder that, indeed, our hurts are of great concern to our Father? He loves. He cares. He desires to intercede, bringing His own calm to quieten the storms in our lives.
Are you ever troubled that you don’t know the right words to say? Do you ever consider that your prayers won’t be acceptable to God because you are not eloquent in speech? Take heart, because God does not look for smooth-tongued prayers; He looks for genuine cries of the heart. He is not concerned with your expertise, or lack thereof, of articulation; your Father is concerned with what troubles you, and that you ask for His help, and that you develop an inner spirit of true worship of Him who is holy forever, rather than on the things of this world which are temporal, fading away it its despair and futility of living.
Your prayers are precious to your heavenly Father — that’s because you are precious to your heavenly Father. Therefore, never cease to talk to the One who loves you beyond measure. Your prayers make a heavenly difference.