Prayers Rising like Incense


“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141 : 2 NIV

I’m taking liberties with my metaphor. This is obviously steam and not incense. But I’ve been thinking about the prayers of the saints lately.

Are our prayers rising?

In this time of chaos, I can wring my hands. I can be afraid of what’s coming, or what might (or might not ) happen.

Or I can choose hope. Or I can bend the knee to Christ. I can pray with Habakkuk.

2 “Lord, I have heard(B) of your fame;
I stand in awe(C) of your deeds, Lord.(D)
Repeat(E) them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.”

(NIV)

If I’m honest, I’ve had seasons where I feel as if instead of rising and ascending to heaven, instead my prayers are hitting the ceiling.

I’ve cried out day after day, with no answer on the horizon.

Or at least not an answer that I could easily perceive. At times I am guilty of not giving God the time and space to work. I want healing, rescue , a miracle… and like the girl from Willie Wonka, “I want it now.”

Sometimes, it seems like nothing is happening. Like we keep hoping, keep praying, and nothing changes. It’s easy to give up hope.

I’ve been in the process of looking back over the past few years, realizing that many of the prayers I prayed in that desperate season are being answered now.

I couldn’t see the answered prayers as they were happening. I could only see them months down the road. Once healing had already been steadily underway.

Even though I thought my prayers weren’t going anywhere, God was listening. He was receiving those prayers, as they ascended to Him. My help and deliverance was on the way , even when I couldn’t see because my vision was blurred by tears.

I hope that wherever you find yourself today, you hold on to hope. That you choose joy, like Habakkuk. That you keep your prayers rising .

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