“Let my prayer be set before You as incense.” Psalm 141:2.
It is fitting that incense is regarded as symbolic of prayer. Perfume is the breath of flowers, the sweetest expression of their inmost being, an exhalation of their very life. It is a sign of perfect unity, health and vigor; it is a symptom of full and joyous existence; for disease, and decay, and death yield not pleasant but revolting odors. And, as such, fragrance is in nature what prayer is in the human world. Prayer is the breath of life, the expression of the soul’s best, holiest, and heavenliest aspirations; the symptom and token of its spiritual health, and evidence of right and happy relations with God.
- Hugh MacMillan
Incense is not produced by the color or form of the flower but by the very essence of it, so prayer is more than words and sentences; it is the very essence of the inner life pressed out in feelings and desires that ascend to God as incense. It is appropriate for us to pray. “Let my prayer be set before You as incense.”