One of the things that many visitors first notice about Taiwan is the scent of incense that fills temples and homes. It lingers in the air and can be quite overwhelming to someone not accumstomed to being around inscense.
For a long time, I detested inscense. I hated the smell. It was anything but fragrant.
But, then one day, as I was reading scripture I saw this verse: "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you" (Psalm 141:2a).
This caught me off guard.
My eyes stopped moving across the text so I could contemplate what I was seeing for the first time.
I didn't even realize on a conscience level that fragrant incense was used throughout the old testament to worship God. Incense is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation:
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. (Revelation 8:3-4)
Our prayers rise before God like the smoke of burning incense wafts towards the sky. The sweet aroma of burning incense symbolizes something pleasing and acceptable being offered to God.
The smoke from incense is different than smoke from burning candles, cooking, or camp fires. The smoke visably lingers in the air as it twists and swirls its way upwards. Its distinctive aroma completely fills the air. It is not quick and fleeting. It is slow and heavy, deliberate and continous.
Oh, how I want my prayerlife to be like that!
Lord, may our worship, may our prayers, continually rise before You, God of heaven and earth. May their fragrance be pleasant and pleasing to You.
[By the way, I still detest the worship of false gods, but my opinion of incense has changed.]
This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty. This week the theme is The Beauty Fragrance and is hosted by Blair at Scriblings. Join us next week for The Beauty of Photographs here at following an unknown path.