A Guide To Intercessory Prayer
by Rev. Richard W. LaFountain

Bowls In Heaven
"Fill up the bowls – the prayers of the saints!"

8. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9. And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." 11. Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" 13. Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" 14. The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped. – NIV Revelation 5:8-14

3. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. – NIV Revelation 8:3-5

Invisible Realities
There are things happening in heaven that we cannot see, nor do we understand. There is the earthly, and there is the heavenly. God sometimes gives us a glimpse of the heavenly and shows us how the earthly is connected to what takes place in heaven. "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." – Matthew 18:18. Revelation has similar heavenly peepholes through which we glimpse the other side. Revelation 5:8-14, 8:3-5 and 12:7-12 are such passages.

Golden Bowls
The "bowls" in heaven are interesting because they are filled by us on earth. In the one case the bowl is the "censer" or receptacle for frankincense, the fragrant incense. In the other case it is called a "golden bowl," that is, a receptacle filled with incense. The incense is then defined as "The prayers of the saints." When the bowl was full God mixed it with fire and poured it on the earth.

Imagine for a moment a bowl here in the front of the room. Above it are the drippings of the prayers of the saints. That is the incense that is sweet smelling to God. When the bowl is full, then he mixes it with the fire of the Holy Spirit and pours it out on the earth, or on the church.

Bottles of Tears
There is another receptacle of God before the throne. Our tears are put into God’s bottle. His flask. Psalms 56:8 You tell my wanderings: put my tears into your bottle: are they not in your book?

God is listening to the prayers of his saints. He is recording, counting, considering, and acting. How it must grieve his heart when our bowls are empty, or half filled. Let us fill the bowls of heaven with the prayers of the saints until the bowl is full to overflowing and God is pleased to pour out blessings on us.

If every prayer request, every heart cry, were a tear drop, how long would it take to fill our bowl?