DVPrayers as IncenseMay my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. —Psalm 141:2Consider your approach to prayer. When have you found it to be most fruitful and satisfying? How can you make the fragrance of your offering more lasting in your life?Have you ever considered your prayers to be a sacrifice to Jesus?
A sacrifice is an offering one makes to God, be it in worship or in atonement. In the Old Testament, such a sacrifice involved the slaughtering of an animal so that one's sins might be forgiven and that the name of the Lord might be worshiped in fear and in reverence. This is the way in which we should pray to God today. We need to recognize that He is the almighty Lord, and that even angels and seraphs come before Him to praise His name and to bow down to Him. We need to learn to fear God and understand that we come in front of Him in sin and in shame. We may not need to offer an animal sacrifice, but we must ask for forgiveness so that our sins might not condemn us. It is when we are able to recognize our insignificance that the significance of Jesus' love becomes the objective of our prayer.
Have you ever considered your prayers to be a sacrifice to Jesus?
A sacrifice is also a giving up of something valued, be it an object, a person, or an idea. When Jesus Christ came to this world, He came to give up His life for you and me. What have we given up for Christ? Perhaps we have not experienced much physical denial for Christ, but have we denied our self-will when we pray to God? If we are to come before Jesus with conflict in our heart, it is very difficult for us to hear His voice. We have yet to surrender ourselves to His serenity. This makes it increasingly difficult for us to pray fully within the spirit, as we interrupt that spiritual intimacy with Jesus by holding on to our own wishes. When we are willing to sacrifice our desires, we do so for the sake of gaining Jesus Christ. Therefore, pray as to win the approval of Jesus—pray as to earn the will and the image of Christ manifested within us.
Pray from the heart, and pray from a thirst whose wellspring can only be filled with the spirit of God. Make every prayer count. Think deeply before you close your eyes and clasp your hands. Pray as if to sing, for songwriters to do not compose music superfluously but with wisdom, deep experience, and a love of the art. Thus, pray with wisdom, with experience, and with the love of Christ as your unquenchable thirst! This is the fragrant incense—a measure of your willing sacrifice to God. May the spirit of God move us to always offer prayers of the most beautiful kind to Christ Jesus, our God.
Have you considered your prayers to be a sacrifice to Jesus?