“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the 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)
There has been much speculation as to the “book” described in the verses preceding this present verse. Some will say it is the book of Revelation, while others affirm it is the literal Word of God. No one really knows because it is unidentified. Although this book is mysterious in its reason for even being mentioned, that is not the point of emphasis of this message. I want to call to your attention the “golden vials” (vases) full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Have you ever prayed especially hard about a certain thing and wondered if God ever heard or acknowledged your prayers at all? I am certain that most of us have considered this, even if it was only for a fleeting moment. We may wonder why we don’t hear from God in a timely way. We may even get discouraged and say, “What’s the use of praying if God does not acknowledge my prayer. Perhaps, He doesn’t think I am serious.” Let me encourage you here to keep on praying. Every one of your prayers is important to God, so much so that He stores them in vials of gold for safe keeping. Not only that, but somehow, He causes those prayers to emit a pleasing odor that fills the Throne Room of God. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:1,2) “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” (II Corinthians 2:15)
Most prayers today are selfish in nature. Seldom do we hear prayers that are soaked in the tears of a dear saint whose heart is broken over the lost soul of a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger that is in obvious need of salvation. The vials were full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. The vials were in the hands of the four beasts and the twenty-four elders that fell prostrate before the Lamb. You can be sure the Lamb knew exactly what the sweetsmelling odour was as it filled the Throne Room of God. The prayers of the saints for whom He died and shed His blood on the Cross. How thrilling this must be to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (cf John 1:29). His saints continued to offer up prayers even after they were saved. Some of their prayers were for the lost, but many were for the saved.
No, your prayers are not in vain, nor are they ever ignored or forgotten. That sweet odor you will smell as you walk around heaven is that of prayers that God has placed in a vial. The delightful fragrance is a constant reminder that God heard you and was never far from you. He has stored our sincere prayers in vials to remind Him (and us) that you were worth dying for because He created in you a heart of care to pray for others. Are you praying, dear saint?
Pastor H. Preston Parker