Prayer Chain IX

What is Prayer?

Fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, expressed in adoration, thanksgiving and intercession, through which believers draw near to God and learn more of his will for their lives. Scripture stresses the vital role of the Holy Spirit in stimulating and guiding prayer.[1]   cross

For the Unity of God’s People

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.[2]

Lord, we ask that you watch over and bless our upcoming programs. Give us discernment and strength in our doctrinal strides to put Christian principles into practice by serving our community. Lift up leadership and guide their decisions toward your truth while granting boldness and vitality. Guide our choices that we may ever walk in your straight path and live out your will. Amen.

For Trust in God
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith
in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for
your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Weekly Scripture

O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:1-2 ESV)!

Commentary:

The prayer for help seems to be offered at the time of the evening sacrifice in the Temple (verse 2b). The psalmist is insistent in his plea: make haste to me! that is, “help me now!” (verse 1; see 38:22a; 70:1b, 5b; 71:12b).

Incense was a fine powder, ground from various spices, which was burned either alone or together with animal sacrifices, and which produced a pleasant odor. tev “Receive” in verse 2a (RSV Let … be counted as) translates a verb meaning “to establish, make firm”; the Hebrew “may my prayer be established” is a way of asking Yahweh to consider the prayer as incense, as a sacrifice. See njv “Take my prayer as an offering of incense.” RSV before thee translates “before your face,” which probably implies the Temple as the place where the psalmist was praying. tob translates “May my prayer be the incense that is placed before you,” and frcl “May my prayer rise straight up toward you, like the smoke of the incense.” The uplifted hands were the position of prayer (see 28:2). It is not certain whether the language of verse 2 means the psalmist was substituting his prayer for the sacrifice he should have offered; certainly, this seems to be implied (see Taylor, Toombs). The evening (that is, 3.00 p. m.) was one of the regular times for the offering of sacrifice (see Exo 29:39–41).

In some languages “Receive my prayer” may have to be recast to say, “Accept the words of my prayer.” In languages in which fragrant burning material is not associated with liturgical prayer, it will usually be necessary to formulate a descriptive phrase; for example, “like sweet-smelling smoke” or “like a fragrant odor.” The lifting up of my hands may require clarification as to purpose; for example, “my hands which I raise as I pray.” In some languages verse 2 may then read “Accept the words I pray the way you accept the sweet-smelling odor; accept my hands raised in prayer the way you accept the evening sacrifice.”[3]

Footnotes:

[1] Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).

[2] The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (New York: The Seabury Press, 1976), 37–38.

[3] Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 1140–1141.

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