Prayers in Golden BowlsImagine your prayers, rising from bent knees and bowed head, ascending to the throne of God. He holds out a golden bowl and the prayers gracefully settle into them, leaving a sweet fragrance from earth to heaven. That's what happens when we talk to our Father. My prayers mingle with the prayers of my parents, pastor and friends. The collective fragrance is a long way from the exquisite perfumes we splurge on today. Nothing could prepare us for the glory of its scent.
|Photo by Emily|
Prayer. It is that magnificent, that important and yes, that necessary. So many of us get hung up on prayer. We don't practice it consistently, our words stumble over each other and embarrass us, we wonder, Is prayer important? Won't bad things happen even if we pray?
Communion with GodPrayer is communion. That's it. Communion with the Creator, God the Father through Jesus, the Son. We can come boldly before His throne with all the things we wish to share with Him. It doesn't have to be profound. We just have to be aware, authentic and full of assured faith. Just like with our friends -- we share all our most intimate secrets, our dreams, our plans. That's what God wants to share with us. He doesn't want the stench of hurried, demanding prayers. He wants our love for Him to show in our praises, our faith in Him to sit perched on top of requests and our silence to whisper "tell me more" in our listening.
Children of God who sit in rose gardens, prison cells or in a hut in India add to my own prayers --scented prayers, each as fragrant as the other. Saints gather in stained glass cathedrals, in humble chapels or hidden rooms in third world countries, and all churches in between the three, offering collective voices. It makes me wonder how sweet Heaven smells on the Sabbath with each congregation sending prayers heavenward. Do the bowls overflow?
We are flawed and sometimes fail, but God still accepts the prayers as they leave our lips. Our prayers pass through the nail printed hand of Jesus as He pleads--intercedes--for us. "For," the Bible tells us, "there is only one God, and one mediator, also between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus" (1Timothy2:5). God delights in the sweet smell, as He delights in answering our prayers. He whispers, "I delight to grant your wish," when our request will bring glory to Him. Sometimes God whispers, "Not now, my daughter, it's not the right time." Then there are those hard times when the soft words are heard clearly in our soul, "No, this is not my will."
God Knows Our HurtsIt is in the "no" times that God sends the Holy Spirit to minister to us. Our tears may still flow, but the comfort of the Spirit soothes, embraces and helps us to understand the "no" in light of the Father's will.
When we rise from our closet place we have the assurance our prayers were pleasing to God. And in the depths of our hearts we know it is time to face life again. We gained our strength from the Father who revels in our scented prayers -- yes, even preserving them in golden bowls -- from Jesus the Son, sitting at the right hand of the Father pleading our case, and from the Holy Spirit who gave us comfort. The beautiful heavenly Trinity taking part in our human prayers.
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Scents from the Heart of Prayer
I have a friend who needs some tender lovin' prayer. If you ever hurt you will know how much a rice bag helps the pain. Pop it in the freezer and it's cold; in the microwave for a minute or two and it's hot. It's so easy.
1. I cut a heart from paper then traced it to the material. I actually got this fabric for another project, but I think I still have enough for that. It was all in a sweet little stack of fat quarters and half price. So maybe the material cost $2.00 at the most. I'm sure it could be done with scraps, but this material was calling my friend's name.
2. I cut strips of material to equal 30" long and 4 1/2". Sewed them together, ironed them in half, sewed a basting stitch around the raw edges. Then I sewed it on the right side of the heart. This step can be discarded if wished or if you are making one for a man. It definitely took the longest to do.
3. Place the right sides of the heart together and sew, leaving a place to fill. As I sewed, I prayed for my friend -- asking for peace, relief from pain and the perseverance to face each day with joy.
4. Fill with 1/8 cup lavender and enough rice to make it look full. I try not to put too much lavender in it because some scents can bother an ill person.
5. Sew up the hole and it's ready to gift. I tied a tag on this one that says, Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. My friend needs some hope.
6. Even with buying the lavender, I have less than $3.00 in my project. Why don't you make a few? Make sure you pray for the recipient as you sew. The project just isn't complete without