Prayers like Incense

I remember that my father-in-law, who was pastor of our church, used to look over the crowd at the close of the service. He would then call out the name of someone to come forward to pray to end the time of worship together. I was afraid he would call on me. Praying in front of a group was incredibly intimidating.

I think it is for a lot of people.

But I finally learned that praying is just talking. It’s simply talking to God. As David wrote many of the psalms, that is what he was doing. He was using his everyday experiences, trials, blessings, challenges, hurts, fears, schedule to drive what he talked to the Lord about.

That is exactly how we should pray.

Let’s dial in on what was on his mind in Psalm 141.

“I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.”

Psalm 141:1-4

On this day, he wanted the Lord to hear him and asked Him to answer quickly. David was apparently in a situation where he didn’t want to say the wrong thing.

Ever been there? I have.

So, David asked the Lord to guard what he would be saying.

And then he was asking God to protect his heart, so that nothing could distract him or draw him away from the Lord.

It isn’t flowery or filled with high and mighty adjectives. It is simply stating his need and asking the Lord to answer. It is perfectly beautiful in its honesty and need.

Let’s learn a lesson about prayer from this. Come to the Lord as your Friend and say what is on your mind. He hears and answers.

Lord, may our prayers be like incense before You, sweet in their simplicity, expressing exactly what is on our minds.

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