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Mixed Prayers

One of the greatest privileges we have as children of God is prayer, yet so often we take it for granted. As the gospel song goes, "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!"

In Psalm 141 David pictures prayer in a beautiful way that will help us appreciate it more. "Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (vv. 1,2). The Jewish priest would go to the altar of incense in the holy place and offer a special incense that no one was allowed to duplicate. As the smoke of the incense rose from the altar, it was as though prayer were going up to God. David was not in the temple; he was a king, not a priest. He may well have been out somewhere in the battlefield when he wrote this. But he says, "I am going to lift up my hands to you as the evening sacrifice. My prayer is going to come to you as incense."

The incense at the altar was mixed together carefully; it was well prepared. Likewise, let's mix our prayers carefully. Our prayers should contain adoration and confession to the Lord, petition, thanksgiving and submission to Him. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to ignite the altar of our souls. Do not pray from a cold heart. David goes on to say, "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing" (vv. 3,4). After we pray to the Lord, let's make sure that our lips and hearts do not sin.

Are your prayers a good mix rather than a series of petitions? When you pray from the heart, you can't help but praise God and thank Him for His grace and generosity. Make your prayers like fragrant incense that brings joy to the heart of God.

Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group ( Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.

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