I've been doing a small devotional book called Making Prayer Powerful for the past weeks. When I started, I wondered how someone could possibly write a whole book about prayer. But the book has been wonderful and I feel that I have really learned a lot about the purpose and power of prayer.
Prayer was a very important part of worship to God's nation of Israel, and so it should be to us. In His law, God designated specific times for prayer that His people were to follow. The priests trimmed the lamps in the Temple and burned incense while the people around the nation were to pray.
While not all prayers must be at set times, I think there is something to be said by setting times when you pray. Whether it's a specific time or a specific event (for example: always praying when you are driving to work), it can help to get us in a rhythm. That is certainly not to say that we should only pray at these times! It's only a starting point to get us into a closer relationship with God.
God used incense to symbolize prayer. The Hebrew word for incense means to fumigate or purify. So too, prayer is to purify us. How exactly does prayer purify us? It purifies us because it causes us to meditate on Him, to concentrate on the hope we have, and it leads us to confess our sins. These actions can transform us and purify our hearts.
Another important and cool note about incense is that God required the people to burn specific incense made of very particular ingredients. It had to be a certain way and this incense was not allowed for any other use except worship of God. I think God is showing us the importance of prayer.
It's not something we should sloppily piece together as a ritual every morning. Our prayers should be meaningful, emotional, thoughtful. For our prayers to be powerful, they must be deep and honest. The second that our prayers because rituals with habitual phrases and no emotion, they lose their power. We should not lose sight of the wonderful gift we have of being able to approach our Father in prayer!
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
I'll end with one more quote from the book that I loved.
Prayer can build us up, if we use if correctly. Our spiritual life should be a combination of listening AND speaking, just like any good conversation. If we only talk TO God but never listen to Him (His Word), we will never truly know Him. If we only listen to Him but never talk to Him, how can we show our love and appreciation?
I hope that you are inspired to focus a little more on prayer this weekend! Happy Friday!
P.S. If you haven't already, follow along on my new Instagram!