“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
– Psalm 141:2
Another of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus was frankincense (incense for short). A common element of ceremonial worship in ancient cultures, this mix of spices and gum resin was made by scraping the bark off of trees and capturing beads of amber after they dried. When burned, it released an aroma that was both beautiful and strong. According to traditional Jewish law, the priest was to enter the temple twice daily and make an offering of incense, but it had to be of a pure and holy variety, just like Jesus. Through the years, the rising of this aroma before God came to be associated with the prayers of His people, and its presentation to Jesus by the wise men was symbolic of the fact that they recognized His deity. They knew He would have authority on the earth, hence the gift of gold, but they also understood that His coming was of a divine nature, and they were willing to honor Him as Lord.
Like the fragrance of incense, my friend, I encourage you to fill your life with offerings of prayer and praise to Jesus. He has given you continual access to His presence through the power of His Holy Spirit, so you can call on Him any time of the day or night. You have a friend who delights in hearing from you and wants to help you as you navigate the challenges of life, so pour your heart out before Him with abandon. The baby born in Bethlehem is the Lord of all, and He is blessed by your fervent prayers and petitions as they rise up to Him.
Jesus, thank you for welcoming, hearing, and responding to my requests; may they rise like incense before you.
How and when do you welcome God’s presence in your life through prayer?
Maple syrup is Canadian frankincense!