January 21, 2021 | John D. Beckett, IFA Founder/Board Member
It’s natural to fret when our prayers seem to go unheard or unanswered. For example, each of us has likely prayed for a person to recover from an illness, only to find the one we’ve prayed for does not get better, and perhaps even dies. Prayers for our nation and its leadership can, likewise, seem to go unanswered.
We wonder if God is at work, especially when we don’t see clear evidence. Yet his Word and his Spirit confirm again and again that he is working and that our prayers do matter. Often we don’t see how until much later.
Scripture and godly wisdom encourage us to keep on praying:
Another angel, with a golden incense burner…was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (Revelation 8:3)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon comments:
Many Christians think their prayers are not heard because they are such poor things. But it is certain that every true prayer gets into the golden censer before the eternal throne of God. God has made provision for ensuring the acceptance of his people’s prayers.
The “incense” offered “with the prayers of all the saints” makes our poor prayers acceptable to God—not the merit of our prayers but the power of Christ’s prevailing intercession. Jesus Christ has been appointed to the office of high priest so that he may take our supplications and present them before the throne of the Most High. No true prayer from the heart of a true child of God will miss the mark; all will reach the heavenly target.
Here is a mystery. How is it possible that billions of prayers from millions of saints speaking thousands of languages over several millennia can possibly all reach the heavenly target? How finite our thinking! How limitless our God! For his pleasure he has set more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe. As a master designer he has fashioned the human body with more than 37 trillion cells. With mind-boggling creativity, he has populated the earth with more than 5 million species of insects. His mysteries abound. He is not limited. He is infinite!
I recall an older saint reciting a recent vision. He knew of my long involvement with Intercessors for America. He said the Lord showed him a storehouse in heaven—a barn-like structure with a long central corridor. Flanking the corridor were large doors, the kind one might find in a horse barn. Each was secured by a strong brace. The doors were bulging toward the corridor from the great pressure of whatever lay behind them. “Beyond these doors,” he said, “are the prayers of the saints. The doors are about to give way. Accumulated prayers are about to explode from the eerie quiet with unbelievable force.” He continued, “You may think people’s prayers don’t matter, but they do. During your time and mine on earth, we may have the privilege of seeing these prayers poured out.”
A golden altar, a storehouse in heaven—windows into the heavenly realm. These are for our instruction and encouragement—to press on, to not give up, to have faith that our prayers absolutely make a difference, if not today, in days yet to come.
“Therefore, strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet…” (Hebrews 12:12-13).
Our prayers really do matter!
John D. Beckett served as chairman of the Board of Directors from 1988 to June 2010 and as president of Intercessors for America from 1976 to 1988. He is an original board member. He is also the chairman of R.W. Beckett Corp, a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and sales of engineered components for residential and commercial heating. A 1960 graduate from M.I.T., he joined his father in the small family-owned business in 1963 and became president in 1965 after his father’s death. The company, with its affiliates, currently has sales exceeding $100 million and more than 700 employees. Mr. Beckett also is a founding board member of The King’s College in New York City, serves on the Board of Campus Crusade for Christ, International, and is a director of Graphic Packaging Corporation, a NYSE-listed manufacturing company. He has long been active in church and community-related activities and an advocate for integrating faith into the workplace. He has written two books about the subject, Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul (published in 1998 and currently available in 14 languages) and Mastering Monday: A Guide to Integrating Faith and Work (published in 2006). He has been named “Christian Businessman of the Year” by Christian Broadcasting Network (1999) and manufacturing “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young (2003). Mr. Beckett has also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Spring Arbor University (2002) and The King’s College (2008). He and his wife, Wendy, reside in Elyria, OH and have six children and fifteen grandchildren. Visit beckettcorp.com. (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)