I have two observations from reading Revelation 8:
1. When the Lamb breaks the seal there is silence in heaven for 30 minutes. Silence is jolting; silence can take your breath away; silence leaves you helpless. I imagine the silence felt was like the silence after Jesus calmed the storm or the silence Elijah heard on Mt. Horeb after the wind, earthquake, and fire passed him by. This kind of silence is not one that takes you by surprise but one that envelopes you and one that you will never forget. Silence in heaven, who would have thought?
2. The prayers of the saints mixed with the incense of heaven filled the golden altar and went up in front of God. Whether or not this is how our prayers are always handled by God is not really the point. What is meaningful to me is how our prayers are a part of the heavenly environment. With incense you can often see it burning, you can smell it, and you can sometimes feel the smoke. I imagine the prayers of the saints being visible in some way, being felt in some way, and even being smelled in some way. Maybe I am being too mystical but this whole image of our prayers filling the area around the throne of God is somehow comforting to me and makes me want to make my prayers more heartfelt and meaningful.
i have really enjoyed your posts on revelation!