In Exodus, there is a passage concerning the incense to be offered on the incense altar.  What is interesting about this passage is that the making of this incense, or the making of any similar kind of this incense for personal use was strongly prohibited, punishable by death.  This seemingly overly-severe punishment actually holds much significance, which I started to see after reading a message concerning it in the Life-study.  

The incense on the incense altar typifies prayer.  Physically the burning incense rose to heaven, becoming a satisfying fragrance to God.  In experience, this corresponds to our prayers, which undoubtedly also satisfies God.  The incense altar was the closest furniture in the tabernacle to the ark, where God's presence was.  Also, in experience, we are the closest to God when we pray to Him.  

The prohibition of the smelling of the incense reveals that prayer is for God's satisfaction alone.  We do not pray for the sake of satisfying ourselves.  We do not pray for the sake of satisfying others.  Our prayer is to God and for God alone.  Our focus and goal is that God would be satisfied by the prayer we offer up to Him, as we are endeavoring to be one with Him.   
Written on September 1, 2010
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