I love to cook. I watch the cooking shows on TV and read the cooking blogs, but most of all I just love to cook. Cooking touches all five of the senses: you can taste the food, of course, but you can feel dough between your hands as you knead it, you can hear the sizzle of something in a hot pan, you can see the bright colors of fresh vegetables and you can smell a roast chicken in the oven.
I got thinking about the sense of smell and cooking the other day. I had a recipe that called for toasting the spices before adding them to the other ingredients in the dish. The spices smelled good right out of the jar, but putting them in a pan and turning up the heat released this fragrance that was incredible. The smell was so much more intense. The essential oils were broken down enough to release something that wouldn’t have been possible without adding the heat.
I think that our prayers are like the spices. They can be good and effective, but when the heat is turned up in our lives, our prayers become more intense. God tells us that our prayers are like incense rising up before Him. You can’t burn incense without heat – something I knew, of course, but when thinking about it in terms of lifes challenges, it takes on a new meaning. Add heat, and prayers get stronger. Add heat, and the result can be something that wouldn’t have happened without it. We need to remember this when things get heated in our daily life. It can make us more aware of how we pray. God loves strong, fragrant prayers. He takes notice. And He responds.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense. Psalm 141:2
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4