Our Prayers are Incense offered to God
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Rev. 5:8 NIV
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Rev. 8:3-4 NIV
“Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising; my raised hands are my evening prayers.” Psalm 141:2 MSG
“Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.” Psalm 141:2 NLT
Listen to what John Paul Jackson has to say about prayer and incense.
“Here is how prayer relates to incense: In order for incense to function properly, it requires fire. Incense burns. In other words, God gives us the unction to pray; He starts the fire within us, and we respond by praying His desires back to Him.Prayer begins in the heart of God and then eventually returns there — but only after it has mingled with us, which makes it even more valuable to Him. Salt was one of the ingredients to be mixed with the spices, and we are the salt of the Earth.
That is what incense is.
This is what incense does:
- Prayer allows us to resist what we couldn’t resist before; it enables us to stop sinning.
- Prayer gives wisdom, which permits repentance. We recognize that we’re experiencing the consequences of our actions.
- Prayer helps us to understand God’s truths. I believe that Daniel didn’t understand Jeremiah’s prophecy about Israel’s restoration, as well as the reason for their captivity, until he had spent time in prayer (Daniel 9).
- Prayer recognizes God’s attributes and greatness, which alters our thought processes and allows us to see our circumstances the way God sees them.
Now, how does prayer accomplish so much within us, when we may not even be praying for these specific things? Incense affects the heart of God. It moves Him, and anything that moves God moves us as well. Every time we pray in honesty and humility, we become more like Him, and the fragrance of our words wafts through the throne room.”