May my prayer be set before you as incense, the raising of my hands as the evening offering. (Psalms 141:2)
In today’s Psalm, David pleads with God for protection from sin and sinners. David was in a tough, life-threatening situation where everything looked dark and discouraging. He prayed to God to rescue him from the advice and thoughts that were vying for his attention that required doing some dishonorable and sinful acts. If David followed through with the advice and counsel that he was given, he may have found relief from his dire situation, but would also risk sinning before God. What did David decide to do? In desperate times, David chose to cry out to God in prayer. David decided to put his trust in God and His ways, and begged God to spare him his life for choosing to pursue doing things the right way in God’s eyes.
Verse 2 describes how David prayed to God in desperate times and this is helpful advice to us as we face times of danger and uncertainty. David asks God to receive his prayers of desperation as incense unto Him. In Revelations 5:8, it says the prayers of God’s people are like incense. Hebrews 13:15 describes praise as a sacrifice to God. We see the imagery of David’s desperate prayers to God through the representation of incense. Our prayers rise to heaven even as the smoke of incense rises upward. Our prayers should be pleasing to God just as incense has a pleasing smell. Finally, just as incense is activated with fire, our prayers need to be sparked with fervent prayer. God wants to hear the cries of our heart. Go to the Lord with desperation, for He already knows what is on our heart. As we raise our hands to the Lord, we show that our reliance and dependence is completely on God. Come before God today with your prayers of desperation and cries for help because you know that everything depends on Him, and Him alone.