more than incense

Another angel came and stood before the altar. He was holding a golden censer, and he was given a large quantity of incense so that he could offer it, along with the prayers of all God’s holy people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. [Revelation 8:3 NTE]

The symbolism is rich in this verse. In ancient times the Jews offered fragrant incense twice daily in the tabernacle. In the psalms David likened his prayers to incense rising to God. There is something about prayer that is like incense rising and filling a room with a sweet fragrance.

In Exodus incense is likened to perfume. I love that imagery. In prayer we create a beautiful scent that sweetens a noxious situation. As our prayers arise they create a divine atmosphere of hope. Despair is turned inside out and vision is imparted. Prayer can change the bouquet of life's trials.

Yet this verse indicates that prayer is much more than incense. More than just a sweet heavenly aroma. Prayers appear before the throne - the place of divine rule. It encourages me that our prayers are factored into God's decisions. It motivates me offer prayers of intercession.

Let our prayers be a fragrant incense to you Lord. Help us to know how to intercede.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

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