Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Prayer: The Hour of Incense

Exodus 30:1: You shall make an altar to burn incense on….

Psalm 141:2: Let my prayer be set before You as incense….

Luke 1:10: And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

Revelation 8: 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.

On Sunday evenings we have been working our way through the elaborate description of the tabernacle given to Moses in Exodus 25-31. Along the way we have been asking what these passages have to teach us about authentic worship. What principles in Old Testament worship apply in New Covenant worship?

Last Sunday in Exodus 30:1-10 we read the description of the tabernacle’s altar of incense. We no longer use incense in New Covenant worship, but what is the continuing relevance of the altar of incense? We noted several passages in Scripture that linked the rising of the incense with the prayer of the saints (see the texts above). As Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, is in the temple serving at this altar, the people are outside joined in prayer at "the hour of incense" (Luke 1:8-11).

Do we have an "hour of incense" in our personal lives? Do we have time set aside for intentional conversation with God in prayer? What about in our life together as a church? Do we have a zeal for attending the worship meetings of the church so that we might be engaged in the ministry of prayer? What if you had a real need for prayer in your life? Would you know that your brothers and sisters would be there to intercede for you? Have you made the commitment to do the same for others?

Gracious God, give to us an "hour of incense" in our personal lives and in our life together as your church.

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