(Physical Manifestation of God) The Night My Heart Broke in Pieces

This is going to sound crazier than anything else I've posted, so far.

I was on my knees, deep in prayer one night in December? November? I can't remember exactly. Prayer time is when everyone else has gone to bed and the house is dark and quiet. The living room is my "prayer closet" of choice because the view at night is spectacular and it has the softest carpet in the house.

What can I say? I'm a sissy.

This is the evening view from our living room.
My prayers usually start off with a barrage of questions for God, combined with observations and wandering ADD-style thoughts, which I find I have to purge before I can get down to business. This night was no exception. Blah, blah, blah...Why this? What is that? I'm like a two-year-old.

Finally, I settle in and I can literally feel the Holy Spirit giving me the burden of prayer, and forming the words for me. "Burden" is just an expression. It's actually pretty cool and isn't a burden, at all. The prayer is transformed from disorganized to eloquent. I'm not bragging...these words really don't come from me.

This particular night, I was urged to repent. Repentance means "turn away from" something; it means rejecting it and not wanting it to be a part of your life. It's not like I steal cars, or kick kittens, (Oh, look! Another round of self-justification!) so the repentance goes pretty quickly. But this night, it just wasn't enough and I knew it.

My mind was flooded with images of the atrocities mankind has committed: burning of Christians with Bibles around their necks (by other Christians, no less), the extermination of the Jews in Europe, the pollution of our oceans, the development of nuclear weapons, the wastefulness of Americans and starvation of Sudanese, murder, slavery, rape, sex trafficking...  the list was endless and was trying to choke back sobs as I began to comprehend that we are all humanity, together. 

Even though I never participated in these horrific acts, I could offer repentance for them. I've quoted this scripture before, and this must have been in the back of my mind as I prayed, brokenhearted:

Revelation 8:3-5: Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”

I closed my prayer thanking God for hearing me, offering all prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, and said, "May these prayers be a fragrant offering of incense unto you, oh God." I would never have used those words in regular prayer, and I certainly do not use the word "unto" for any reason whatsoever. Great - I'm a weirdo. I shake my head.

Emotionally drained, I ended my prayer time and wiped the tears from my face. Ugly crying at its finest, for sure. I'm glad it was dark and everyone else was asleep. Shaking it off, I drank some water and smeared lip balm on my lips. Placing the plastic tube back in the kitchen drawer, I noticed the smell of incense. That's the drawer where we have a couple of old (10 years old?) incense sticks, so I dismiss the thought and make my way down the darkened hallway toward bed.

But the smell is so, so strong. I'm wondering if my husband burned incense in the house, and why on earth he would have done such a thing. Sniffing like a bloodhound, I try to locate the source and stop in my tracks. Good grief...it's overwhelming, but I can't seem to find its origin.

Brush teeth, go potty, climb into bed. The smell is so strong I can hardly stand it. It's in my nostrils, my hair, and on my pajamas (or, pyjamas, if you prefer). And then it hit me.

I was the source of the incense. 

God heard me, and I really believe that was Him acknowledging my prayer offering. What a beautiful gift to have something so physically noticeable happen, affirming that my prayers are making a difference.

I don't know how you pray, and I don't think there's a particular formula to follow. But I do know that when we pray with all our hearts, God hears us. And for some reason, I really think getting on our knees in submission and worship is an important part of that prayer. Even if we choose the softest carpet in the house on which to kneel. Try it.

I asked my hubby in the morning if he had burned incense in the house.

His blank stare told me all I needed to hear.


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