Thursday, October 3, 2013

golden bowls :: Jill's story

Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
Revelation 5:8
Almost four years ago my best friend was advised that her pregnancy should be terminated.  When her water broke at only 20 weeks the doctors believed that the baby girl she carried would not survive.

I remember sitting on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hands tight as we wept together.  Through the tears I cried out to God in a way I had never cried out before.  I pleaded for that fragile life my friend carried in her womb.

Do you ever wonder if your prayers really matter?

I'm not always as disciplined in my prayer life as I would like to be.  Most often my prayers are spontaneous and unplanned.  Sometimes they involve me closing my eyes and other times they are wide open as I drive down the road.  Sometimes I grab the hand of another and other times I am alone behind a closet door. But if I’m honest, every once in a while I question if my words are just filling up air momentarily and are then blown away...lost forever.

I will never forget discovering the words of John.  He had spent years in the company of Jesus so I feel confident that he knew the heart of God.  At the point when he wrote these words he had lived a long life of knowing God and making him known to others.  God revealed to John some pretty amazing things about the life to come and although it’s hard to wrap our minds around these kinds of revelations, I received this particular one like a precious gift and the meaning was crystal clear...

John was describing an image of heaven in which heavenly beings surrounded the throne of God holding golden bowls filled with prayers…our prayers. 

Does that blow your mind like it does mine?

God not only hears every word we utter to Him, but he keeps them.  He actually has a place for them in heaven.  Our prayers aren't stuffed in a cardboard box in the back of a dark closet somewhere.  They are held in golden bowls in the arms of heavenly beings and they are still at work filling the very air of heaven with their sweet scent.  I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

If you think your prayers don't matter - think again.

What has been your fervent prayer lately?  Maybe it was something you screamed out loud or maybe you just barely breathed the words. 

Whatever you have lifted up to God you can be sure that he hears you and your words are precious to Him.  They are worth saving. 

When I prayed with my friend that sorrow-filled day in the hospital something shifted in my prayer life.  As I pleaded with God and laid my heart bare before Him I felt Him urging me to be bold in my request…and so I was.  In the past, if I had considered the odds ‘not in my favor’ my prayers would have been timid…wimpy even.  Yet when faced with this situation that many would have considered hopeless, God reminded me that nothing is impossible with Him.  He also reminded me that if I truly believed I should pray like I did. 

For 12 weeks I prayed like I meant it and then one April day a tiny baby girl was born into this world.  She may have weighed in at 3 pounds that day but today she is one of the healthiest {and cutest} 3 year olds around. 
God could have answered my prayer differently.  Sometimes his answers have left me disappointed.  But regardless of the outcome, that intimate time I spent with him would have still made a lasting impact on me.  As C.S. Lewis said, ‘{Prayer} doesn’t change God.  It changes me.’

So go ahead and be bold.  Don’t pray with hesitation wondering if God could really do what you are asking of him. 

Let the boldness of your prayers reflect the bigness of your God.  And then trust the result to Him.
Ask yourself today if there is any area of your life in which God is calling you to pray bold prayers?

Whether He ultimately answers those prayers the way you are hoping for or not you can be sure of this…
Your heart will be changed in the process…and so will the very air of heaven.

{I invite you to check out the rest of jill's story.}