May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
In the first phrase of this verse David prays about his prayers. His desire is that his prayers would be like incense to God. In other words, David asks that his prayers would be pleasing to God. As I think about this verse, several questions come to mind: Do I desire that my prayers to be pleasing to God? Does God consider my prayers incense? Am I focused only upon what I desire or upon God’s glory and His will?
In John 14, 15, and 16 Jesus speaks often of prayer. Six times He tells His disciples to ask in His name. That means our petitions are to align with God’s character, Word, will, and ways. Our prayers are to honor our Lord. Five times the command to pray in His name is connected with a promise that the disciples would receive what they asked.
I must look at this command and promise in light of the context of these chapters. Jesus speaks of knowing the Father and abiding in Him. The more I know and abide in the Father, the more my prayers align with His character and bring Him glory. God-glorifying prayers are God-pleasing prayers!
Jesus also speaks of loving God and others. The more I love Jesus, the more His pure love increases my love of others and permeates my prayers regarding them. Throughout John 14 and 16, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, Who counsels and guides in truth. He also talks about obeying His truth. And so, the more I know God’s truth, obey His truth, and listen to His Spirit of truth, the more my prayers align with God’s will and ways. Prayers that align with God’s will and ways are God-pleasing prayers!
Believer, would you say your prayers are like incense to the Lord? Let’s offer prayers that are God-glorifying and God-pleasing!
Lord, may my prayers be honoring of Your character and Your will. Amen.