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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

A Part of Me in Heaven

…and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.
 Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 5:8

As John beheld Jesus, the Lamb of God, he also beheld those gathered around Him in worship. These worshipers were holding golden bowls of incense. Incense is first introduced in the Bible in the book of Exodus. The priests burned incense upon the altar of incense every morning and every evening. The resulting fragrant smoke that continually flowed upward toward heaven represented prayers of the priests for the nation of Israel.

In chapters 5 and 8 of Revelation, incense is also connected with prayers, but this time with the prayers of the saints. In Revelation 8 an angel stood before the altar. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand (Revelation 8:4). Believer, you and I have the opportunity to offer a pleasing aroma to God through our prayers.

As I have reflected upon these verses, I have wondered how many of my prayers are like incense to God? How many of my prayers help fill the golden bowls of heaven? As I pray, am I more often focused upon God, His character and His work or upon my own selfish desires? What about you? How often do you pray for the blood of the Lamb to atone for the sin of an unbeliever? Do you ask the Lamb to strengthen you to be His bold witness on earth, regardless of the cost?

Believer, we are instructed to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. (Ephesians 6:18) Focusing upon the Lamb of God in His glory results in God-centered prayers. And so, as we pray may we focus upon the Almighty Lamb of God and offer prayers that are worthy of Him.

LORD Jesus, keep me focused upon You and Your glory! I ask that my prayers will be set before You like incense. (Psalm 141:2) Amen.

Jan Burkhart

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