Prayer seems to be on my mind. Whether it was the conversation about politics that began this or the awareness that I will be talking about prayer in a month with a young adults group, I am not sure. Whatever the reason, this post is one of a number of prayer experiences I will be sharing with you over the next month or so.
It was the second week of the Strong Challenge, time to begin a new topic and a new focus for the week.
The card that introduced the upcoming week read, “When we pray, we open ourselves up to the life-changing conversations with God. Prayer is meant to be more than an emergency flare to heaven in our times of need—it’s designed for us to connect with God on a real, intimate, everyday basis. The “Pray” challenges give us a variety of creative ways to spend time in prayer. Some may be surprising, others may take us outside our comfort zones—but they all point to the rich and life-changing possibilities of daily interaction with God.”
I flipped through the cards and picked a few to spend time with during the week.
I grabbed one and tucked it away as I grabbed up my laundry and headed out to wash a few loads at my parents-in-law.
When I arrived, the house was quiet. It would be perfect for spending some time in prayer. After putting the laundry into the washer, I placed my Bible and journal on the loveseat and settled in next to them, under a blanket. I pulled out my challenge card and read.
“Light A Candle. First, think of a hope you have—big or little, it doesn’t matter. Write it down in your journal.”
I stopped and wrote down a few cares in my nearby journal.
I continued to read.
“Then, light a candle, and as you do, share that hope with God in prayer. Watch the flame and smoke rise up from the candle and envision your prayer rising to God.”
I ran upstairs to look for a lighter. I returned a few minutes later, to light the candle sitting on the coffee table in front of my seat.
I lit the candle and watched as the smoke puffed in the place where the flame had touched the wick.
I let my cares rise as the candle flickered.
I took another look at the challenge card. It read, “For centuries, lighting a candle has symbolized the offering up of a prayer to God. The Bible reveals that the prayers of God’s people are precious to him, like a fragrant incense.”
I thought about this for awhile, looking up the Scripture reference, lost in the picture and this moment of prayer.
Then, I began to write about the experience.
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8
Lifting hopes high
In the waxy scent of soft vanilla
Of dancing flame.
Prayers carried heavenward
As candle light
Of releasing fears
Of dreams for one day
Of health for a dear one.
A puff of
I paused, content.
The rise of my prayers on the inside echoing the rise of the candle smoke in front of me.
I rested there in God’s presence, surrounded by His love, the way the aroma of vanilla filled all the air around me.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we lift our prayers to the Lord. Whether they are in the form of a lighted candle or the cry of our heart may we know that they rise before Him and take heart.
P.S. The Strong Challenge cards were developed by Crossroads. As you read the quotes the language from them should be credited to their staff.