Psalms 141:2   Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

What an interesting connection between prayer and incense! How does incense connect the one praying to the Creator? Furthermore, how can prayer be counted as incense? Let’s take it one step further: how are prayer, incense, and worship counted like an evening sacrifice? Let’s start with this last thought, shall we? 

The evening sacrifice in the temple was to be the last offering of the day and was to burn all night long until it was reduced to ash by morning. Once the morning shift of Levi’im came in, they were to clean out the ash and put on the morning offering. There were the Tamid, or continual, offerings that were instructed in the Torah. This was an Olah offering, the burnt offering, that was given completely and whole-heartedly to YHWH for no other reason than one desired to show devotion to YHWH without any condition/expectation when coming before Him. 

When the evening offering was brought and everyone else went home, one man was left to tend the altar and the korban, the offering,  throughout the night. This man would stand through the darkness of night and keep the fires burning while others slept. This is an act of devotion not just on his part but also an expression of devotion on behalf of the Nation Israel. Let me draw a point out of this, while others slept it was still one man’s heart to make sure there was intercession for the nation and an expression of devotion going up to the Father. 

What about the incense? Incense was used in the service as a veil of protection for the priest. He would offer incense in the Holy place to allow the smoke to fill the room and be a covering for him from the glory of YHWH. This would allow him to be near and be safe. Prayer works somewhat in a similar way, it allows us to connect with the Holy One and help cover us in our lives. Prayer is a point that helps us to know that YHWH is with us and He goes before us. 

The ingredients of the incense in the service had to be very precise with exact measurements. What can we learn from this? We can learn a spiritual lesson from the physical realm by looking into the word for incense. Incense in Hebrew is Qetoret (קְטֹרֶת). This word can be broken down into an acronym to help us with the focus of our prayers that we desire to be counted as incense. Let’s  break the Hebrew letters down. 

What should be the ingredients for the incense – i.e. -your prayers

  • The letter “kuf”(קְ) can stand for “Kodesh”(קֹדֶשׁ) which is holiness
  • The letter “tet”(טֹ) can stand for “tahor”(טָהוֹר) which is clean/pure
  • The letter “resh”(רֶ) can stand for “rachem”(רַחֵם) which is compassion/mercy
  • The letter “tav”(ת) can stand for “Tikvah”(תִקְוָה) which is hope

All of these together are a great layout for our prayers. May our prayers be mindful of His holiness and the holiness that His people are called to walk in. May our prayers be clean, pure, and honest showing no intent but seeking restoration. May our prayers be full of compassion and mercy. Lastly, may our prayers be full of hope that can only come from YHWH. 


Dr. David Jones

BYNA Elder


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