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Vials Full of Odours

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. Revelation 5:8

I wrote a verse memorization book to encourage adults to memorize the Word of God. Naturally, I am working my way through the book along with the rest of the adults in our church. It wasn’t until I began trying to memorize Revelation 5:8 that I was struck with the beauty of this verse. Let me back up a little bit. Maybe you are like me in your reasoning process. Why should we pray at all if God already knows that we are going to pray, what we are going to pray for, and what the outcome is going to be when we do? Don’t get me wrong, we are commanded to pray, and I certainly see the value in prayer. I have had many prayers answered that I truly don’t think would have come to pass had it not been for prayer. But the human side of me perhaps takes human reasoning a little too far and tries to realize the intrinsic value of prayer. Human reasoning asks “What is the point of prayer if God is all-knowing, sees the end from the beginning, and has the timeline of all human history mapped out from day one until the end of time?”

Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say for the point of this discussion that there was no point to actual prayer because of the foreknowledge of God. Even if that were true, the beauty of Revelation 5:8 still remains and gives us a tremendous reason to pray. Each time we pray, those prayers are placed in a golden vial that will be presented before the throne of God. In the Old Testament, the priests were to burn incense upon the altar that would arise as a sweet smell before God. That incense was offered up to signify the prayers and praises of the saints. The tabernacle is gone, the altars are erased, and there is no more literal priesthood, but the sweet smell of prayers wafting up to God remains. Even if there were no other point to prayer, it is still invaluable because God loves the sweet smell of the prayers of His saints.

How full is your vial of odours? Will the beasts and the elders present a vial with a couple drops in the bottom or is your vial full of odours? God wants us…no, He commands us…to pray. Life without prayer would be shallow and empty. Yet, even if we were somehow able to dismiss the value of praying to see requests granted, the worth of prayer as a sweet-smelling odour in the nostrils of God is inestimable. Take the time to add to your vial today.

Read also: Revelation 5:7-14

Quote of the day: “Prayer does not fit us for greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers

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