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Archive for January, 2017

Fragrant Prayers

The Frozen Fortress of Helsinki, Finland

The Frozen Fortress of Helsinki, Finland

“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” (Psalm 141:1-2 NIV).

Sometimes I raise my hands to praise the Lord. This happens often through the day. Because I know He is in me and with me and all around me, I can talk to Him like I talk to anyone. The difference is that He is my Creator. And so I talk to Him a bit differently than I would a friend or acquaintance. I am in awe of His love for me. He has given me confidence through His Word that He will hear me when I call out to Him. Whether it is a praise or a request, I know He is listening.

Because of my love for Him, not all of my prayers are requests for my own needs or the needs of others. Many of my prayers are simply prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

My husband, David, and I visited The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. One of the exhibits is experiencing worship in the setting of the tabernacle in the desert, long before the Temple was built in Jerusalem. Our guide showed us the Holy of Holies and demonstrated the yearly sacrifice of atonement. In Biblical times the priest burned incense before he made the blood sacrifice of the slain animal. The smoke from the incense mixed with the burning flesh of the sacrifice symbolized the prayers of the Israelites going up to God. Today our prayers are like incense and lifting our hands in praise is like the evening sacrifice.

The actual aroma of the tabernacle and the smoke stunk. There is no question about it. So what made it an aroma pleasing to the Lord? God did. He recognized that the burning flesh proved obedience to His provision of the way to have the Israelites’ sins forgiven.

Our prayers stink, too. We are selfish and our prayers are often selfish. Yet, even knowing this will be the case, God has told us to pray. Only He can turn them into an aroma pleasing to Him.

When we go to Him in prayer whether it’s an urgent cry for help or a praise of thanksgiving, our attitude of awe and reverence will shine like the morning sun. He loves us even though we know very well that we have done nothing to deserve His favor. Remember, it is only because of His love for us that He made a plan for our redemption. And so, we humbly receive His gifts and presence in our daily lives. God also loves an attitude of gratefulness. We have so much to be thankful for. Whatever your situation today, look around, can you see anybody worse off than you? Of course you can. The world is filled with lost people who are blind to God’s love. Thank God for your blessings and pray for the salvation of others.

The theme of Psalm 141 is a prayer from King David when facing temptation. The important verse that follows is King David crying out, “Set a guard over my mouth, O, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (v 3). Our lips can be used for praising or cursing. Let’s be watchful and keep them focused on the Lord, to praise and lift Him up. It is time to make an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

Father in Heaven, You are the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. I am honored to worship You, my God and King.. Thank You for Your daily blessings and Your tenderheartedness toward mankind. Please help those who are suffering all around us. I thank You for being in the midst of every situation. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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