“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”
Next to the Court of the Priests was a porch that led to the temple proper consisting of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Into the Holy Place, the priests entered to perform various duties, in particular, to offer incense on the golden-incense altar, as Zechariah did on the occasion when an angel appeared to him and announced the forth coming birth of his son, John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-23). The only two pieces of furniture in the porch were the two tables, one of gold and the other of marble, on which the showbread was placed. This entrance was covered by a veil. In the Holy Place stood the Golden Altar, the Golden Table for the showbread, on which were two frankincense cups and the Golden Lampstand.
God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. (Exodus 30:34-38) The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him. (Isaiah 56:7)
The golden altar, furthermore, is a representation of Christ, who is our intercessor before God the Father. During His days on earth, Jesus prayed for the believers. He was like the high priest of the temple, who bore the names of each of the Israelite tribes on his breastplate before God. Just before He was betrayed and sentenced to death, Jesus interceded for His disciples and all believers, asking God to guard them from evil and sanctify them by His Word, and that they may see God’s glory and be a witness to the world (John 17:1-26).
Today, Jesus still is our high priest at the Father’s side, interceding for us. He carries our prayers to the Father. Just as God commanded the priests to keep the incense burning, He also wants us to keep our prayers coming. This is why the apostle Paul said, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Our prayers are a sweet aroma that permeates the throne of God.
Do you pray without ceasing? Do you remain in a spirit of prayer throughout the day? If you were God’s only child, would Jesus receive any word from you on a daily basis to make intercession to the Father? Would your prayers permeate the throne with a sweet aroma? Are you carrying the burdens and requests of others to the Lord? Can others count on you to make intercession for them before the throne? The lack of communication is the weak link to any relationship. If you wait to pray until you are in trouble, then friend, you are in trouble!
The purpose of this prayer guide is to assist you, through fasting, to cleanse your mind and purify your heart, so you can make proper intercession to the Lord. Like a weak or dropped WI-FI signal that prevents an e-mail or text from transmission, your life possessed by unconfessed sin, can keep your prayers from reaching God’s throne. Has God revealed any sin you are hesitant to confess? Would you confess it right now so your prayers will not be hindered from reaching God’s throne? Keep the incense burning!