"When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, ad to them were given seven trumpets." (Revelation 8:1-2)
This is perhaps the longest silence heaven has ever known. At all other times there s continual praise, music and worship ascending to the throne of God. But at this moment, no one dares breathe a word. It's as if what is about to take place is so dreadful, all of heaven holds its breath. Everybody waits to see what will happen when the seven trumpets begin to sound, unleashing the last and by far most terrible Tribulation horrors.
Trumpets in the Bible are symbolic of several things. They could signal alarm, and they were used to call God's people to work, to worship and to war. But when a trumpet sounded, it meant primarily that God was getting ready to intervene in the dealings of men. And as the angelic trumpeters prepare themselves, another angel with a golden censer comes to the altar (v. 3). From this angel's hand, the prayers of the saints ascend to God mixed with the smoke of the incense (v. 4).
Now, this angel could actually be the Lord Jesus Himself, for it is Jesus Who joins the saints in intercession, praying for us and with us. When the priests would go into the temple, they would take a bowl of incense, and the aroma which perfumed the air was illustrative of the prayers of the saints. We saw this pictured earlier in the golden bowls full of incense placed before the Lamb (Revelation 5:8). And we see now that Jesus, our great High Priest, is mingling our prayers with the incense of His worth and offering this fragrant mixture to God the Father.
All of this tells us that God has not forgotten the prayers of His people. They may have been prayed years ago by your grandmother or your great-grandfather, or by the apostle Paul. But not one has been overlooked. These prayers which have been stored up in heaven are now rising as a sweet savor in the nostrils of almighty God.