“May my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2
When we begin to cultivate a prayer life, one of our first concerns is how we should pray, and what we should pray for. We want to pray in the right way; we want to pray correctly! And this is very important. The way we learn to pray the “right way” is to use the Bible as our prayer guide. How did Jesus pray? How did He teach us to pray? What examples do we see in scripture to help us to know how to pray? How did Paul the Apostle pray? What do the Psalms teach us about prayer? The Bible should be our guide as to how we should approach God in prayer, what we should pray for, and the Holy Spirit will also guide us and enable us to pray. Most important of all, we need to actually spend time praying! Like anything else in life, we learn how to do it by doing it!
But as we grow in the practice of prayer our focus will shift from praying correctly to praying in a way that brings pleasure to God. Prayer becomes a spiritual romance! As we spend time in God’s presence, He will reveal Himself to us, and transform our desires!
In the Tanakh, (Old Testament) the incense offered in the temple represents the prayers of the saints. The same is true in the book of Revelation (Rev. 5:8). Why incense? Because incense rises and gives pleasure to those who inhale it.
It brings great pleasure to God when we come to Him in prayer! We are a “fragrance of Christ to God” (2 Cor. 2:15). Yet there are things that hinder our prayer lives. The most obvious is sin. If we want to walk with God, we must be in agreement with Him. If we have sin in our lives, we must confess and forsake it. Other distractions include feeling inadequate, unworthy, and wandering thoughts. Let me encourage you to work through these things! The truth is that “…we are a fragrance of Christ to God…” and the Father loves it when we come to Him! He welcomes us into His presence! Persevere, and linger in His presence!