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Throughout the Bible there are many images of incense being a symbol of prayer rising to God. This three-part prayer exercise is designed using incense as the central focus for prayer rising to God. Feel free to use any one, or combination, of the parts of the exercise.
1. Focus on the majesty of God. "Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. A large quantity of incense was given to him to offer with all the prayers of the saints on the golden altar that stood in front of the throne; and so from the angel's hand the smoke of the incense went up in the presence of God and with it the prayers of all the saints............." Rev. 8:3-4. Imagine yourself in the intimate presence of God. You might use some of the imagery from Revelation: the majesty of God and the dazzling light (chapt. 4); or God surrounded by 24 elders with golden bowls full of incense made of the prayers of the saints (chapt. 5) Allow plenty of time for this, and after a period of silence, say the song of the four animals:- "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the almighty: he was, he is and he is to come."
2. Focus on the immensity of prayers rising to God. "From farthest east to farthest west my name is honoured among the nations and everywhere a sacrifice of incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering too, since my name is honoured among the nations, says the Lord Sabaoth."............Malichi 1:11. Imagine throughout the earth the intercessions rising up to the throne of God. In your mind, hear the groanings of millions of people- "the groans of the living and the groans of the departed" (Rev 6:9-11). Sense the immensity of prayer before God's throne by the community of saints. Allow time for this, and after a period of silence say:- Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty: he was, he is and he is to come."
3. Now offer your intercessions. "Let my prayer rise before you like incense And my hands like an evening
offering..........Psalm 141:2. As you bring before God your particular concern, you might like to light a joss stick and repeat the psalmist's phrase. After a period of silence:- "Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty: he was, he is and he is to come." 4. You might like to end with the Canticle from Revelation 15:3-4. "Great and wonderful are your deeds Lord God the Almighty: just and true are your ways O King of the nations. Who shall not revere and praise your name O Lord? for You alone are holy. All nations shall come and worship in your presence: for your just dealings have been revealed. To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb: be praise and honour, glory and might for ever and ever. Amen."