“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
What a powerful picture of prayer, of what we are about to do just in a minute from now. We’re going to pray, and as we pray, as I lift my voice and we lift our hearts before God, this is not just some podcast to listen to, it’s not just some perfunctory religious motion to go through. We’re going to pray and our prayers are going to be like incense coming up before God, a picture we see all throughout scripture as a fragrance before God. A picture of worship and honor toward God, that is pleasing to God.
Our lives belong to You, O God. We want our lives to be living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to You.
Our prayers are like incense before God, and the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice. Lifting up our hands as a picture of saying, “God, here we are together before you in prayer.” This is what we’re about to do. We are laying down our lives before you, expressing our need for you, expressing our adoration of you, expressing our desire for your help and this way or that way, expressing our thanksgiving to you, all of this, like incense before you.
Let me remind us, when you get to the end of the Bible, Revelation chapter eight, specifically talks about the consummation of God’s kingdom and when his judgment comes on the earth and he brings about a new heaven and a new earth. Listen to Revelation chapter eight verse three, the Bible says, “An angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.”
Did you hear that? This picture in Revelation is telling us that one day God will consummate his kingdom, ultimately and eternally, in response to what? In response to the prayers of his people that are like incense before him. What Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” You pray that prayer, it is like incense before God.
One day these prayers are going to lead to the consummation of God’s kingdom, a new heaven, and a new earth. So let our prayers be like this, oh God, right now, we pray before you right now in all the places where we are at this moment, some people in their homes, some people driving, some people lying down ready to go to bed at night, some people just waking up in the morning. But right now, as we pray, may our prayers, Psalm chapter 141 verse two, be counted as incense before you.
Oh, God, be pleased with our praying. Receive our prayers right now as adoration of you. We pray because you are glorious. You are loving, powerful, holy, awesome, beyond comprehension. You are the one we need. You were the one we bow before. You are the one we worship.
Oh, unless you’re driving your car or something else that would prevent you from doing this, would you just lift up your hands right now? Oh God, let our prayers be the lifting of our hands. Oh God may the lifting of our hands right now be as the evening sacrifice. See us right where we are right now with our hands lifted up before you. Our lives belong to you. We want our lives to be a sweet-smelling fragrance to you. We want them to be a living sacrifice that’s so holy and acceptable to you. So we lift up our hands now in prayer and we pray, oh God, what you taught us to pray through your son, our father in heaven. We pray with our hands lifted up. Here, this is incense before you, our father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, we pray for your kingdom to come. We pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We pray for your healing, for your justice, for your mercy, for your love, for your salvation to spread, for your glory to reign, for your name to be known and worshiped in all the earth. God, we pray these things. And as we do we ask, Psalm 141 verse two, that our prayers would be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of our hands right now, as the evening sacrifice. As the total surrender of our lives to you, for your glory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.