Prayers as Incense

December 20, 2021

Exodus 37.25-29

25 They made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, a cubit long and a cubit wide and two cubits high — its horns of one piece with it. 26 They overlaid the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and made a gold molding around it. 27 They made two gold rings below the molding—two on each of the opposite sides—to hold the poles used to carry it. 28 They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

29 They also made the sacred anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense—the work of a perfumer.

Incense and prayers are very connected in the worship of the people.  In Psalm 141 we hear from David:

May my prayer be set before you like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Prayers rise to God as the incense has its smoke and scent rise from us to the skies.  Prayers go up and have a fragrance of beauty that goes before God.  It brings a pleasing smell, it gives pleasure to God to have our prayers come up to him.

The altar of incense is not a side piece in the tabernacle.  It is one of the most important and prominent pieces in the worship from the people.  It stands at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  One does not enter the Most Holy place without standing before the altar of incense and offering prayers.  Prayers are lifted up at the entrance to the Most Holy place at all times, and especially when the High Priest would enter once a year.

Prayer is still where we enter the most Holy place today.  It is our entrance each day into the presence of God while we pray.  It is the beginning of our worship and it is the way we come to God when we hear his words together.  Prayer is at the entrance to God’s presence.  And God still accepts our prayers as incense, just as we see in Psalm 141.  Our offerings of prayers are pleasing to our God.

Spend some time today offering God thanks for the gift of prayer, where we can come to speak with him and hear from in our prayers.  Spend time today in prayer just listening to God speak of who we are, who he is.  Be connected with God in prayers today and know that he is pleased when we offer prayers to him.

SongChrist Be Our Light

Prayer

In the psalms of David, in the words of the prophets, in the dream of Joseph, your promise is spoken, eternal God, and takes flesh at last in the womb of the virgin.  May Emmanuel find welcome in our hearts, take flesh in our lives, and be for all peoples the welcome advent of redemption and grace.  We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose Day draws near; your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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