“And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn it. And when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it. A regular incense offering before the Lord, throughout your generations.”
Oh, what a picture. Here, the altar of incense in the tabernacle, Aaron is instructed to burn fragrant incense every morning before the Lord. “And he shall burn it, a regular incense offering,” verse eight says, “before the Lord, throughout your generations.” This picture of, at every moment, a picture of worship, going before God, worship from among God’s people, rising to God in a pleasing way to him. That’s the picture here in a way that throughout the rest of the Bible we often see prayer described as being like incense before the Lord.
God, may our prayers like incense rise before you even right now.
In fact, when you get to the end of the Bible and you see the culmination of the coming of God’s kingdom in a place like Revelation chapter eight. It says, “Other angels came and stood at the altar with a golden censer and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints rose before God from the hand of the angel.” So the picture here of the prayers of God’s people rising like incense before God, so now you think about a command like we see in First Thessalonians to pray continually, all the time, when you rise in the morning and all day long. Just even picture it in our lives as the church. I think about the church that I’m a part of, as we are praying all day long, I pray that they would just be end since rising from McLean Bible Church all day long before God through brothers and sisters praying continually.
From the moment we wake up in the morning, the first time somebody wakes up or somebody who’s working a night shift, that they’re praying while they’re working on their way home, and then as we wake up, different people, just incense rising. And all day long as we walk through all kinds of different things, this is what we do as the body of Christ, as the people of God, we lift up prayers continually like incense before God. Prayers of praise, prayers of confession, prayers of petition, prayers of intercession, prayers for guidance, prayers for help, just all kinds of prayers rising like incense before God. That, that would be true in our lives, that, that would be true in the church, and that in this, God would be pleased to see, hear from, and be worshiped by a praying people. God, may our prayers like incense rise before you even right now.
What a picture, even as I’m saying this prayer out loud and only you know how many people are listening to this prayer at different times, and not just listening, but joining in this prayer as we’re lifting our hearts before you, may you be pleased, O God, with our prayers right now, with our praying right now. May you be pleased. May you multiply this prayer. I’m just so thankful for this podcast, the privilege of praying with so many different people, and just incense arising before you in this way. So we pray together. We pray continually throughout the day, may our prayers like incense rise before you and be glorifying to you. Hear our prayers, our prayers of praise, our prayers of confession when we sin, our prayers for help, our prayers of petition and intercession for others. God, hear our prayers. Hear our prayers today for the Ghonsari of India. Hear our prayers for them and answer, cause your salvation to be known.
We pray among the Ghonsari of India in 7,000 other unreached people groups in the world. For our friends who don’t know you, God, we pray that you would use us to share the Gospel with them today, to lead people. God, teach us to pray continually all the time, all day long. May this be the picture of our lives. May this be the picture of our church, just praying continually as we look forward to the day when this is last cry for your kingdom to come rises up before you like incense and the heavens break open and the trumpet is sounded from on high and Jesus comes back. We pray, O God, our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May that prayer resound from our lips and our hearts and our lives all day long. May you hear it. May you answer. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, we pray. O God, we pray that this picture of incense, this picture of prayers rising like incense before you would mark our lives, our families, and our churches. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.