I'm participating in a Women's Bible Study at my church which is using a book written by Anne Graham Lotz called, THE VISION OF HIS GLORY: Finding Hope Through The Revelation of Jesus Christ. For this study, participants have personal study during the week where they write out their answers and thoughts in a workbook then come together for a small group discussion with other women plus a video teaching session with Anne Graham Lotz. This is my second study using her material and I am very pleased as she really emphasizes in-depth personal study which has proven to be very rich and nurturing. I am amazed at how much more I am seeing in the verses we study than I've seen in more cursory reading in the past.
I have been impressed to share some of my thoughts as I'm studying. The book of Revelation has much that is difficult to understand but it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and therefore there is much that is very understandable and which reveals the unique worthiness of Jesus to be my Savior and to receive the worship of all beings. Last week we concentrated on Revelation 5 with the Subject, "Hope When You Are Discouraged". The chapter begins with God holding a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed. There's a search for someone worthy to open the scroll but no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was found who could open the scroll. The apostle John is writing this book and is witnessing what he writes. He begins to weep because no one was worthy to open the scroll. But then an elder told John to stop weeping and look - "the Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed and is able to open the scroll". John saw a Lamb who still showed the scars of having been slain. This lamb is Jesus - the lamb who was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of mankind. He took the scroll from God. When he had taken it, those who were present "fell down before the Lamb and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints".
As I pondered that scene, I thought of these bowls of prayers. They are being presented to Jesus in humble worship. I can imagine that Jesus is very pleased and honored to receive these offerings of prayer. But I wonder how many of those prayers have come from me? I am afraid that my prayer life has been weak. The bowl of my prayers may be nearly empty. I asked myself, "Do I comprehend the importance of prayer knowing that those prayers are being kept for presentation to the Lamb?" I don't want an empty bowl. I want to please the Lamb with a lifetime of prayer knowing that He hears and answers and saves my prayers to be presented to Him in worship in Heaven. I long to be a more disciplined prayer warrior so that I'll be able to join with others in worshipful presentation to our worthy Lamb of those prayers. And these thoughts give me hope when I might otherwise be discouraged.