Our Rising Prayers

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thoughts

Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

This passage presents the Christian to our view in his holiest and most solemn posture—drawing near to God, and presenting before the altar of His grace the incense of prayer. The typical reference to this is strikingly beautiful. “You shall make an altar to burn incense upon . . . . . And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning; when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” That this incense was typical of prayer would appear from Luke 1:10, “And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.” And David, though dwelling in the more shadowy age of the church, thus correctly and beautifully interprets this type: “Let my prayer be set before you as incense.”

But from where arises the incense of prayer ascending to the throne of the Eternal? Oh, it is from the heart. The believer’s renewed, sanctified heart is the censer from where the fragrant cloud ascends. True prayer is the incense of a heart broken for sin, humbled for its iniquity, mourning over its plague, and touched, and healed, and comforted with the atoning blood of God’s great sacrifice. This is the true censer; this it is at which God looks. “For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Precious censer! molded, fashioned, beautified by God. There exists not upon earth a more vile and unlovely thing, in the self-searching view of the true believer, than his own heart. And yet —oh wondrous grace!—God, by his renewing Spirit, has made of that heart a beautiful, costly, and precious censer, the cloud of whose incense ascends and fills all heaven with its fragrance. With all its indwelling evil and self-loathing, God sees its struggles, watches its conflict, and marks its sincerity. Not a feeling thrills it, not an emotion agitates it, not a sorrow shades it, not a sin wounds it, not a thought passes through it, of which He is not cognizant.

Believer! Jesus loves that heart of your. He purchased it with his own heart’s blood, agonies, and tears—and He loves it. It is His temple, His home, His censer, and never can it approach Him in prayer, but He is prepared to accept both the censer and incense with a complacency and delight which finds its best expression in the language of His own word, “I will accept you with your sweet savor.” And what shall we say of the fragrance of this incense? Oh, how much have we yet to learn of the intrinsic sweetness of real prayer! We can but imperfectly conceive the fragrance there must be to God in the breathing of the Divine Spirit in the heart of a poor sinner. It is perhaps but a groan—a sigh—a tear—a look—but it is the utterance of the heart; and God can hear the voice of our weeping, and interpret the language of our desires, when the lips utter not a word; so fragrant to Him is the incense of prayer. “Lord, all my desire is before You, and my groaning is not hid from You.”

A Beautiful Prayer

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24

LORD, give me more clearly to see Your love in all Your dealings. Anoint my eye of faith afresh, that, piercing the dark cloud, it may observe beneath it Your heart, all beating with an infinite and a deathless affection towards me. The cup which my Father has prepared and given me, shall I not drink in deep submission to His holy will? O Lord, I dare not ask that it may pass my lips untasted: I may find a token of Your love concealed beneath the bitter draught. Your will be done. Nearer would I be to You. And since You, my blessed Lord, were a sufferer—Your sufferings now are all passed—I would have fellowship with You in Your sufferings, and thus be made conformable to Your death.

Grant me grace, that patience may have her perfect work, wanting nothing. Calm this perturbed mind. Tranquillize this ruffled spirit. Bind up this bruised and broken heart. Say to these troubled waters in which I wade, “Peace, be still.” Jesus, I throw myself upon Your gentle bosom. To whom can I, to whom would I, tell my grief, to whom unveil my sorrow, but to You? Lord! it is too tender for any eye, too deep for any hand, but Your.

I bless You that I am shut up to You, my God. “Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside You.” You did hear my prayer, and have answered me, “though as by fire.” I asked for health of soul, and You gave sickness of body. I asked You to possess my entire heart, and You broke my idol. I asked that I might more deeply drink of the fountain of Your love, and You did break my cistern. I asked to sit beneath Your shadow with greater delight, and You smote my gourd. I asked for deeper heart-holiness, and You did open to me more widely the chambers of imagery. But it is well; it is all well. Though You do slay me, yet will I trust in You. Divine and holy Comforter, lead me to Jesus, my comfort.

Witness to my spirit that I am a child of God, though an erring and a chastened one. Lord! I come to You! My soul would sincerely expand her wings, and fly to its home. Let me go, for the day breaks. Come to me, or let me come to You. Ever with You, Lord, oh! that will be heaven indeed. Why do Your chariot wheels so long tarry? Hasten, blessed Savior, and dissolve my chain, and let me spring into glory, and see Your unclouded face, and drink of the river of Your love, and drink—forever.

Praying in the Holy Spirit

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Praying in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 20

Mark the grand characteristic of true prayer—it is “in the Holy Spirit.” The seed of acceptable devotion, must come from heaven’s storehouse. Only the prayer which comes from God—can go to God. We must shoot the Lord’s arrows back to Him! Only that desire which He writes upon our heart—will move His heart and bring down a blessing—but the desires of the flesh have no power with Him.

Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying in fervency. Cold prayers—ask the Lord not to hear them. Those who do not plead with fervency—do not plead at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire—as of lukewarm prayer. It is essential that prayer be red hot!

Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying perseveringly. The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent—when God delays to answer. The longer the gate is closed, the more vehemently does he use the knocker! The longer the angel lingers—the more resolved is he who he will never let him go without the blessing. Tearful, agonizing, unconquerable, importunate prayer—is beautiful in God’s sight!

Praying in the Holy Spirit means praying humbly, for the Holy Spirit never puffs us up with pride. It is His office to convince of sin, and so to bow us down in contrition and brokenness of spirit. We shall never pray acceptably, unless we cry to God out of the depths of contrite hearts.

Praying in the Holy Spirit is loving prayer. Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love—love to our fellow saints, and love to Christ.

Moreover, it must be a prayer full of faith. A man prevails—only as he believes. The Holy Spirit is the author of faith, and strengthens it, so that we pray believing God’s promise.

O that this blessed combination of excellent graces, priceless and sweet as the spices of the merchant, might be fragrant within us because the Holy Spirit is in our hearts! Most blessed Comforter, exert Your mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer!

Our Prayer Answering God

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Evening Meditation

“Seven times Elijah told him to go and look—and seven times he went.” 1 Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should not be received in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned—but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief—but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again.

So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled—but not abashed—her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement—but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer—but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord.

Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation—deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint—and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin—but continue in prayer and watching.

At last the little cloud was seen—the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us—his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire!

…and we pray.

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“For this child I prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Devout souls delight to look upon those mercies which they have obtained in answer to supplication, for they can see God’s especial love in them. When we can name our blessings Samuel, that is, “asked of God,” they will be as dear to us as her child was to Hannah. Peninnah had many children—but they came as common blessings unsought in prayer—Hannah’s one heaven-given child was dearer far, because he was the fruit of earnest pleadings.

How sweet was that water to Samson which he found at “the well of him who prayed!” Quassia cups turn all waters bitter—but the cup of prayer puts a sweetness into the draughts it brings. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet, when they are saved, to see in them our own petitions fulfilled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings—than as the fruit of our bodies. Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift? When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God’s faithfulness and truth, and so be doubly precious. Have we petitioned for success in the Lord’s work? How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer! It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way—by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations.

Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found Him after having sought Him sorrowing. That which we win by prayer—we should dedicate to God, as Hannah dedicated Samuel. The gift came from heaven, let it go to heaven. Prayer brought it, gratitude sang over it, let devotion consecrate it. Here will be a special occasion for saying, “Of Your own—have I given unto You.”

Reader, is prayer your element or your weariness? Which?

Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure

A week ago at this time I was sitting where I am sitting this morning. At that time I was waiting for nine o’clock to arrive when I would be able to call our veterinarian about taking Buddy in for surgery. The events that followed on that day are recorded here:  My Times Are in Your Hands

During the past week I have struggled without success to find closure on the death of this companion who I often referred to as Mr. Bud.  I have been praying throughout the days for something, exactly what I did not know, but something that would allow me to experience one final burst of emotion followed by a confident peace. Continue reading “Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure”

My Times Are In Your Hands

My times are in your hands.

Psalm 31:15a

I experienced a slight detachment from reality as I listened to Dr. Stewart describe the picture that the x-rays painted. Our family dog Buddy, at eleven yeas old, was experiencing internal bleeding resulting in a pooling of blood and possibly other fluids in his abdominal cavity.



Our visit to our veterinarian yesterday came at the end of a week in which our previously healthy and active canine companion progressed from sluggishness to lethargy.  Dr. Stewart was clear in presenting the only option for treating the condition. We would need to run him down to the emergency animal surgical center in Fort Pierce and spend the night testing, prepping, and submitting Buddy to abdominal surgery.  He advised us that, because of his age, surgery would tax Buddy’s system and that recovery would be longer than would be the case for a younger dog.

Referring us to the x-rays, he pointed out the large mass in Buddy’s abdomen and told us that it could be the spleen, the liver, or just a large tumor. He told us that Buddy’s low platelet count indicated that there was also internal bleeding.

Feeling overwhelmed, my mind quickly found refuge in the thought that this was an occasion which seemed to point to only one end. That end being to euthanize Buddy. It was difficult to process that thought, but it seemed to be the only way to avoid subjecting our beloved family member to a difficult and in no way guaranteed operation. Continue reading “My Times Are In Your Hands”

Our Children – Update

Last week I related a tragic accident that occurred when a father backed over his 3 year old child at a local tree farm. That post can be read here:  Our Children

At this morning’s prayer breakfast, we discussed this situation and were given a personal reflection by one of our church’s elders. Glenn, our elder, knew Tony only from time spent next to him on an exercise bike at a local fitness center. And until last week he hadn’t seen or spoken to him for over two years.

Glenn reports that, to the best of his knowledge, Tony and his wife Katie (sp ?) are not professing Christians  But Tony made a call to Glenn last week asking if he could stop by his house and talk with his wife and him.

Glenn met with them, and it was not an easy visit. As you can imagine, there is still a lot of raw emotion and grief over the loss of this child. But Glenn did talk with them and they invited him to pray for their family. The one thing that Glenn said is helping to keep things together is that they also have a four year old son.

As in my first post, I would ask that you please continue to be in prayer for this family. I will keep you updated as to the workings of God in these 3 lives.

God bless you and yours,


A Prayer


My Father in heaven, draw near to me in Your infinite mercy. May all vain and wandering thoughts be silenced and repressed, as I now approach Your footstool. I adore You for the rich blessings that are treasured up in Christ. In Him I have . . .
eternal life,
a balm for every wound,
a solace for every trial.

May I continually look to His sympathetic hand which dries all tears, and listen to His gracious voice which soothes all sorrows. May it be my habitual desire to follow in His footsteps and to reflect His image; to live and to walk so as to always do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Gladden me this day with Your presence. Morning by morning, as I set out on my path of duty, may it be my increasing desire to attain a nearer and closer conformity to You and to Your holy will—to have more childlike tenderness of spirit, childlike obedience, childlike fear of grieving or offending a Father so full of pitying love and mercy.

I have to lament, heavenly Father—the proneness of my heart to depart from You—seeking my happiness too often in things which perish with the using. Break the world’s alluring spell. Disenchant its delusive fascinations! Elevate my affections, purify my desires. May I seek to have the consciousness of Your pure, loving eye ever upon me, living under the supremacy of that elevating motive—to walk so as to please You.

Subdue my unmortified sin; quicken me in every good and holy way. Enthrone Yourself in my soul and life, as Lord of all; and bring me to live more constantly and habitually under the constraining influence of Your love.

Let it ever be to me, a gracious and consoling thought, that “the Lord reigns!” I am but clay in the hand of the almighty Potter! All that concerns me is directed and regulated by Your infinite wisdom and unchanging love. Neither is there anything arbitrary in Your dealings with me. I would lie passive at Your feet, saying, “Do to me and with me—as seems good in Your sight!”

I will be still, and know that you are my God. I flee to the sanctuary of Your covenant love, rejoicing in You as my Father, and in Christ as my Redeemer. May it ever be mine, to accept the cup of affliction which You put into my hand—as a cup of love, saying, “Not as I will, but as You will.”

I look forward to that joyous time when, fully purified alike from sin and sorrow, I shall enter within the heavenly gates and stand faultless before Your throne!

I ask these and every other needed blessing, through the all-sufficient merits, and all-prevailing name of Jesus Christ, my only Lord and Savior.


As I mature spiritually, rarely at a consistent rate, I find myself responding to God’s answers to my prayers in one of two ways.

The first, occurring mainly during seasons of great mercy when God seems to be flooding my life with answered prayers, is an overwhelming sense that I am undeserving of such work on God’s part.

And secondly, I find myself increasingly content and trusting of God when his answer is, “patience my son.”

You will make your prayer to him, and be answered;
Job 22:27a