The Incense of Prayer

The book of Revelation tells us that our prayers are highly regarded before God. For we read, “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Revelation 8:3-4) In another similar passage, we read, “When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5:8)

These verses tell us that God hears our prayers and that our prayers are a fragrant incense to Him!

In the book of James, we read, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16b)

In 1 Timothy 2 we read, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). When we pray, therefore, we must remember to pray for our (1) municipal government, (2) state or provincial government, (3) federal government, and now the (4) world government. It is probably even more important now than it was in the past to pray for the world government because of the things that are happening right now in our world. When I say “world government” I am referring to the United Nations. In reality, praying for the world government and praying for the state of our world is very much intertwined. Much is happening today around the world which requires our prayers.

Pray. Pray in the big things. But also pray in the small things. Remember to pray for your mother, your father, your siblings. If you don’t pray for them, who will? Pray for the homeless. Pray for the abandoned. For the lonely. Pray for the hurting. Pray for men, women, boys, and girls of all types, of all races, of all colors, of all religions, of all ethnic backgrounds. Keep praying, and do not give up.

Pray like never before.

We should set aside a period of time each day to pray. In Psalm 5:3, we read, “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”

In Psalm 109, the writer wrote, “I am in prayer” (Psalm 109:4b).

David prayed.

Moses prayed.

Ruth prayed.

Esther prayed.

We are commanded to pray, make petitions, and let our requests be made known unto God. Are you anxious, or needy, or lacking peace? The Bible says we should pray. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Is prayer worth it? Yes.

Our prayers can accomplish what other things cannot accomplish.

Remember, our prayers ascend before God as incense (Revelation 5:8). He hears them.

How often should we pray? According to the Bible, all the time! For we read, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This means that when we are standing in line at the grocery store, we can pray. When we are on a bus ride, we can pray. When we are waiting at the doctor’s office, we can pray.

How should we pray? One of the examples that Scripture shows us is by kneeling.

“… (Solomon) kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel … (and prayed)” (2 Chronicles 6:13b)

“… he (Daniel) kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed … ” (Daniel 6:10b)

“And he (Jesus) was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed” (Luke 22:41)

“But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed.” (Acts 9:40)

“And when he (Paul) had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” (Acts 20:36)

Of course, we can also pray lying down, standing up, and even walking. However, posture can be a sign of reverence and respect and Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” (Matthew 10:24) We therefore should not be afraid to kneel.

If we want to follow the examples of those in Scripture, we should therefore be in the habit of kneeling but we should also have the freedom to pray in other ways, as well. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17b)

Prayer is effective, and powerful.

Pray, and keep praying. Today, the world is in need of prayer warriors.

Pray today. Pray always.