The Prayer Life of EM Bounds by Kevin M Thomas
EM Bounds: “All God’s saints came to their sainthood by the way of prayer. The saints could do nothing without prayer. We can go further and say that the angels in heaven can do nothing without prayer, but can do all things by praying. These messengers of the Highest are largely dependent on the prayers of the saints for the sphere and power of their usefulness, which open avenues for angelic usefulness and create missions for them on the earth. And as it is with all the Apostles, saints and angels in heaven, so is it of preachers. “The angels of the churches” can do nothing without prayer which opens doors of usefulness and gives power and point to their words.”
Kevin M Thomas’ Explanation: All of God’s people became God’s people because someone was praying. As Christians we cannot do anything of real significance without prayer. We can stay busy, but not necessarily productive.
To press this point further, let us consider the fact that the Bible teaches that God dispatches angels to watch over us and work for our good (cf. Hebrews 1:13-14). Bounds indicated that the angels cannot work in our lives effectively unless we are praying. I know for some this might sound a little off theologically, but let’s consider Revelation 8:3-5.
3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:3–5)
Somehow the prayers of those who are in Christ Jesus are seen as ascending up to God “out of the angel’s hand”. The angel took fire from the altar near God and “threw it to the earth”. In other words, it appears as if God is using the angel here to respond to or answer the prayers of the saints. The angel’s part in the process of prayer impacts the earth. Although the book of Revelation uses both symbols and literal images, one thing is clear. God uses angels in the process of answering prayer in Revelation 8, which we may safely conclude they are involved in answering our prayers today.
The word angel means messenger. These messengers of the Most High God are greatly dependent on our prayers. Our prayers or messages to and from God affect their assignments concerning us. When we pray, God creates missions for the angels to carry out on our behalf. (This is not to say that God does not give angels assignments outside of prayers.)
God has two types of messengers, heavenly and earthly. We understand the heavenly messengers as the created order of angelic beings who attend to His throne and carry out His commands. The earthly messengers are humans who are known as preachers, missionaries, evangelist, pastors, teachers, and other Christians who carry His message to the world. Just as the angelic messengers are dependent on prayer for their earthly assignments we are too, especially preachers. In the book of Revelation 2-3 the “angel of the church” can be understood in two ways. God assigns a heavenly being known as an angelic messenger plus He assigns a human messenger known as a pastor to guard and guide each local congregation or assembly known as a church.
Just as the angels hands are tied without prayer, so are the pastor’s. Without prayer none of God’s messengers can do anything worthwhile. Prayer opens the doors to our true usefulness to the Kingdom and our community. Prayer empowers us to do what we otherwise could not. Prayer gives “point to” our words. To give point means that prayer sharpens the words we speak. It makes them a more powerful weapon and a sharper tool, whichever is needed to rescue and build up people. Prayer releases the unseen angelic forces to do God’s bidding on our behalf.
So let’s fall to our knees in faith believing that heavenly help is available for the asking.
(CLASSICS Revisited #2: Book 6: Weapons of Prayer – PRAYERLESSNESS IN THE PULPIT by EM BOUNDS)