Burning incense revisited

Incense burning at a temple in Taipei

Well, unfortunately another little woodland creature decided to die inside the wall of our church office and reek out the building. Last year Pastor Jerry’s office was their favorite dying site but this week it’s been mine. Luckily, Jessica recently bought me a cupcake-scented candle and it’s been helping me cope.

These experiences with contending smells have reminded me that sometimes the only answer for a bad smell is a sweeter one.

One of the purposes of prayer is releasing that sweeter fragrance.

In Psalm 141:2 David compared prayer to incense when he said, “May my prayer be set before you as incense.” In Acts 10:4 an angel said to Cornelius, “Your prayers and your gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before the Lord.” And in Revelation 5:8 John saw “golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.”

In addition to being a means of communicating with God, our prayers are like incense offerings that transform the atmosphere around us.

How much of that incense permeates your life? Is the air of your life suffocating and stale or is it scented with the fragrance of prayer? Sometimes we need to pray, not for miracles or answers from heaven, but to release the pleasing power of incense that’s locked inside our prayers.

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