If our prayers are in line with God’s will, they can have a powerful impact throughout the Earth, even when we may not notice it or may take it for granted. This is why Christ and his apostles stressed prayer so often in their teachings. In Revelation 8, we get a glimpse of the powerful, earth-shaking impact our prayers will play in how God will unleash his wrathful judgment during the Tribulation.
As that chapter opens, there is complete silence for half in hour in heaven after the seventh seal is opened. Then seven angels before God’s throne are handed seven trumpets in preparation to do the actual unleashing of God’s judgment. But before they sound, another angel approaches God’s altar (v. 3) with a golden censer in his hand to offer incense before God with the prayers of all the saints.
In v. 4, those prayers in the incense rise up before God and in response to the prayers, some serious action begins to unfold. The angel, undoubtedly at God’s command although it isn’t mentioned, in v. 5 fills the golden censer with the altar’s fire and throws it down to Earth, causing voices, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake to be released. The golden censer, which was the tool to offer up the saints’ prayers, becomes the tool for God’s judgment in response to the saints’ prayers with the fire, voices, thunderings, lightnings, and earthquake as various forms of his judgment.
Once the golden censer hits its mark, it is the signal for the seven angels to hit their notes on their trumpets to release God’s specific judgments throughout the Earth. Essentially, this is a prophecy that God will use the censer to censure the wickedness on Earth during the Tribulation and the prayers of the saints will serve as the impetus and encouragement for God to do it.
We know that if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then the influence that our prayers will have on him in the future can have a similar impact today. Taking note of how he answers even our seemingly insignificant prayers today can be taken as an encouragement for us to pray more with greater focus on our concerns, then watch to see how his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 1 Pet. 4:7