Do you ever send an email and then wonder if the recipient ever read it? While you may wonder immediately if the letter has been opened, your curiosity truly kills the cat (or at least may make you want to kick it) when days and days go by and you still have no response from your friend. If this situation describes your email life, then Microsoft Outlook designed a cure for you.
I discovered Microsoft’s answer for our email enigma a few years ago. You see, I had a friend who would attach a “read receipt” onto her emails to me. This friend works in sales, and she got tired of always wondering if her clients were reading their emails so she started attaching read receipts to all of her emails just to be sure. When I get emails from her, Outlook lets me know that a confirmation has been sent informing the sender of my receipt of the message.
I was thinking about this technology as I was reading Revelation 5-8. Scattered throughout these four chapters is Jesus’ continued revelation of heaven to the apostle John. When Jesus gives John a tour of heaven, He points out to him on several occasions one of the items that has arrived in heaven. Listen to the words of Revelation 5:8 and 8:1-5: “And when He (Jesus) had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. . . When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”
As you read those verses did you see the item I was referring to? In the dwelling place of God . . . before His very throne . . . is a beautiful bowl consisting of the prayers of the saints. (NOTE: Saint is a term that refers to anyone who is a Christian. This bowl contains not just John the Apostle’s prayers, but yours and mine as well!) These prayers, like fine incense, are a welcome aroma to Jesus Himself. Though many years had gone by and many prayers John had prayed, no doubt, had gone “unanswered” from his perspective, John was now granted the most impressive read receipt ever. Indeed the prayers John and others had prayed had gotten through, and Revelation chapter 8 tells us that at the right time, these prayers will be answered with awesome power . . .being returned to earth with an answer and ground shaking force.
This was probably never more pronounced than with John’s prayers for the return of Christ and justice to be brought to the earth. John had seen many of his friends die for their belief in Christ, and He was on the island of Patmos as a prisoner, when this revelation came. No doubt, John had prayed many prayers for Jesus to protect His friends, to bring justice on the earth, and to set things right. Yet all these prayers had gone unanswered. Over all this time, John’s curiosity had to be killing him. Were his prayers really getting through? Then in one sweet vision, Jesus removes all doubt. The Reader of our hearts had gotten every one . . . and He was getting ready to act.
If you wonder if God really hears your prayers . . . if He got your message, then read Revelation 5:8 and 8:1-5 and take heart. Your prayers are still there before the throne like sweet incense before the King. The Reader has Received Your message, and He will respond soon.