The Fragrance of Prayer:
The Incense and Power of Intercessory Prayer
By Bobby Conner
The Spirit of God is releasing an anointing for intercession on an extremely high level (John 15:16). Saints are being mobilized to pray across the nations. Great swells of prayer meetings are beginning to take place in many diverse places. Some of these prayer meetings are being led by outstanding young radicals who have one goal in mind—establishing God’s Kingdom on earth. Likewise a great release of intercession is arising from delightful senior citizens.
Understand: Prayer's Prominence Before God’s Throne
Because of this newly released anointing to pray, it is vital for us to recognize what the Word of God teaches concerning prayer, specifically what happens to our prayers in the heavenly realm.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
—Revelation 5:8 NKJV
Our prayers hold a place of great prominence before the Lamb upon His throne in heaven. Bowls are filled with our treasured prayers—and the prayers are so beautiful they emit a fragrant incense, and are so valuable and precious, they are kept in golden bowls. The aroma of these faith-filled prayers continuously rises before the Lamb and casts a magnificent scent upon His throne, becoming an essential part of the worship and adoration before the face of God.
Believe: Fervent Prayer Avails Much
What our prayers accomplish is absolutely astonishing: our prayers actually move the hand of Almighty God (Jeremiah 33:3). In fact, many of the defining moments in history were decided as the result of prayer. We must recognize that, as the Body of Christ, we are at an historical moment, a crossroads and time of transition. We must spend time filling those golden bowls with our intercessory prayers, believing they are availing much.
The Scripture contains countless precious promises of God’s loving-kindness and willingness to answer our prayers. Indeed, the Word of God promises: “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The Lord Jesus Christ assures us repeatedly in the Gospels that our prayers—truly “whatsoever things” we desire—are heard and answered, “Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them” (Mark 11:24). Our prayers actually accomplish more than we can imagine, “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Doubt: The Lies of Satan
The foe of our soul, Satan himself, is positively relentless in his strategic attacks to hinder our prayers. He seeks to stop us from praying altogether. What is his chief tactic? Slandering God. Accusing our faithful King by speaking blasphemous lies, such as, “God will not hear your prayers.”
Every time the devil speaks, without exception, he speaks a lie (John 8:44). A lie is the direct opposite of the truth—so be encouraged: when you hear the enemy telling you that you are not significant enough to God to be heard, that you don't know how to pray, that you have “disqualified” yourself from the mercy and grace of God by past sins, or that God is unconcerned, faithless, unloving or absent, your prayers are being heard in the courts of heaven! You are by no means disqualified or ignored; on the contrary, your prayers are mighty and effectual as you pray in faith, standing on the precious promises of the Word of God. Every time you pray, without exception, you activate the host of heaven. When you hear the voice of doubt and unbelief, recognize the voice of the accuser and rebuke, renounce and remove him from your midst.
Welcome: Mighty Angelic Help
Be confident of this fact: your prayers are heard in heaven. Not only are they heard and treasured in golden bowls, but also they are watched over and executed by powerful, holy angels. We read in
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
Never forget: your prayers always result in action. Prayer always, without fail, engages heaven:
For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation!
—2 Corinthians 6:2
Expect: Prayer Produces Results
When your prayers are spoken on earth, they ascend before the throne of God and heaven immediately begins to respond. At times the earth is shaken. When the disciples prayed, for example, they experienced a literal earthquake, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
The prayer spoken in Acts 12 on Peter’s behalf was prayed to address a life-or-death situation. James had been beheaded and the same fate was facing the apostle Peter. Scripture states, however, that “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5-11). Truly, nothing is too hard for God. Our prayers release the hand of God to move on our behalf. Indeed, prayer is a powerful force.
Our prayers release not only a response on earth, but prayer also release’s an awesome response from heaven. In Revelation 8:3-5, we find lightnings, which speak of God’s power being released as our prayers are released from heaven back to earth. Thunderings and noises speak of the Word of God being released from heaven. When God’s voice speaks we see the entire world shaken (Exodus 19:10-20).
Have Faith: Uncover Secrets
It is the prayer of faith that moves the hand of God. Yes, God can do anything (Job 42:2); Genesis 18:14 also poses the question, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? The answer is no: as we enter into the realm of the prayer of faith, we discover that absolutely nothing is impossible with God. He has promised us that if we ask, He will answer. We read this powerful promise in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.”
The word “mighty” in this Scripture literally means, “fenced in,” with the connotation of being “cut off ” or “inaccessible.” Jeremiah 33:3 then assures us that prayer makes visible the things that have been concealed. In this we understand that God has many things to reveal to us and through us, but we will never receive them unless we call to Him in believing prayer. God is able to reveal that which has formerly been hidden. He desires to reveal mysteries to His friends—because He is committed to delivering and preserving His people. In Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” God has some secrets that He desires to release—but these are obtainable only through prayer!
Dearly Beloved, never give up! Keep on crying out to God! The answer is on the way. He is able to do far above anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).