Tuesday, 9 March 2021
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! -Psalm 141:2 [ESV]
Psalms have a special place in our lives! They have the ability to touch our hearts in unique ways and often minister to our soul in most issues of life. We could often relate to the life situations that the Psalmist passes through as we also might have faced similar situations in life. We soon get connected emotionally, which becomes a bridge in connecting us with God.
The Psalm for our reading today is titled “An evening prayer for sanctification and protection.” It gives insight into various aspects of prayer – let us meditate on the pertinent ones.
1. A Cry with confidence in the heart (Psa 141:1):
The Psalm starts with a cry to the Lord entreating Him to listen. As a body of Christ we pray with a focus for the fulfilment of the godly purposes assigned for us. When we approach the throne of grace boldly through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Heb.4:14-16), it is our confidence that our prayers will be answered and His purpose will be established, on the basis of the word given in 1John5:14, - if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
2. Prayer- A pattern to follow:
A pattern of prayer is presented in verse 2 which can be followed while we engage in warlike prayer daily. The request of the Palmist is to accept his prayer as incense and lifting up his hands as a sacrifice.
Incense: Several references about incense are in the Bible. Incense in the Tabernacle was kept burning continually before the Lord (Exodus 30:1-9). In Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-5, incense is pictured as the prayers of the saints, which clearly portrays the significance that God gives for the prayers of His saints. The incense will rise when fire kindles it, if no fire - it can’t burn. As David says - my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue (Psalm 39:4). This does not refer to casual prayers, but about spending quality time with the Lord, reading and meditating God’s Word, receiving the desire of our Heavenly Father’s heart and praying, which is the true incense that spreads the aroma. That incense will reach the unreached and unapproachable places and will accomplish great things for the glory of God.
Sacrifice: It was a common practice to bring offerings in the morning and evening (Exodus 29:39, Numbers 28:4). However, for a New Testament believer, his sacrifice is compared with worship which is not fixed in a timeframe. As a temple of God we have the privilege to worship Him always. Here lifting up hands shows two things—our empty hands are a confession of helplessness and lifting up expectant hands to be filled with what God gives.
3. Prayer- It’s a War room (Psa 141:3)
When we read further and through the life of King David, we can see that he was constantly warring against his enemies. He was fighting against his physical enemies as well against his own flesh - the remaining verses clearly shows that. As we step out into a declared season of prayer, please do understand that we are on a battlefield. It’s a personal choice, either you can choose to fight against the enemy or stay back in the comfort zone where self-indulgence grips (2 Sam 11) and it may lead to showing contempt for the Lord’s name (2 Sam 12:14).
Scripture reveals how God in His mercy preserved some to intercede before Him. Today His eyes are looking towards us and how we approach His throne with prayer; He is waiting for our prayers to do greater things. Let us align together to glorify Him as a body of Christ, united in prayer and focussed in purpose.
To think on: “If you keep quiet at a time like this, God will deliver the Jews from some other source, but you and your relatives will die; what’s more, who can say but that God has brought you into the palace for just such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14 [TLB]