Monday, June 7, 2010

Fragrant Prayers

Today’s Reading: Psalm 139-141; John 17

“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2 NIV).

How often do I pray, really pray? Not often enough. Yes, I bless my food before I eat, and pray with my husband every night before we drift off to sleep. But I don’t often pray on my own. I have long wanted prayer to be such an integral part of my life that I pray without thinking. It is my desire to walk through my day and pray to God as I would talk to a person. This is what I’ve striven to do for years, but sometimes, even now, I get a little lax. I get caught up in the business. I focus on how I’m feeling today, what I do or don’t’ like, and how I don’t measure up in so many ways. I’m not sure I always truly believe that praying would make a difference, because I don’t always see the outcome. Yes, God always listens to me, but He doesn’t always respond with the answer or timing that I expect. His ways really aren’t my ways.
After reading the scriptures for today, I wondered what to write about. I skimmed back through the verses, and the verse on prayer really stuck out to me. Psalm 141:2 paints prayer as such a beautiful act of worship. David doesn’t show prayer as a time to get everything he “wants” or “needs,” but instead, as a form of worship that shows how amazing God is. He associates prayer with incense, fragrantly floating up toward the throne room of God.
I can almost see the Old Testament Israelite Temple now. The aroma of the incense must have been so powerful. It must have filled the entire temple with its rich odor. It must have invaded every fabric surface, including the priest’s robes. It must have been such a beautiful act of worship.
That is how I want my prayers to be, an act of worship to my God who is oh so holy and worthy.
And so I start again today, attempting to live a life filled with worship and prayer.

What about you? What do you find difficult about praying, if anything? What strikes you about the verse above?

Lord, may my prayers be like a fragrant offering to you, each and everyday. May they express my true heart and soul.

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