Offer the other lamb in the evening, along with the same offerings of flour and wine as in the morning. It will be a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord. [Exodus 29:41 (NLT)]

But the internal organs and the legs must first be washed with water. Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. [Leviticus 1:9 (NLT)]

GARDENIAThe gardenias were blooming. The aroma of those beautiful flowers filled the air as I walked that morning and I paused in my walk just to inhale and relish the pleasant scent.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrews were instructed to offer sacrificial burnt offerings on their altars as gifts to God, making a “pleasing aroma to the Lord.” As a vegetarian, I found it difficult to picture how the odor of burned meat could be considered pleasant. That morning, however, I finally understood the verse’s meaning. It wasn’t the sacrifice of meat that smelled good to God; it was the prayers that accompanied the burnt offerings that made the pleasing aroma.

As I breathed in the scent of the flowers, I wondered, “Is this how God feels when He hears our prayers?” I want my prayers to be as fragrant and pleasing to God as the gardenias were to me. Perhaps gardenia isn’t your favorite scent; maybe it’s the aroma of fresh baked ginger cookies or, in my husband’s case, fresh cooked bacon. Either way, let your prayers be as pleasing to God as your favorite aromas are to you! By the way, I have a sneaky suspicion that praise and thanksgiving smell best to Him; whiny complaints probably smell a bit like burnt toast!

O Lord, please accept my prayers as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. May you always find them sweet smelling.

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering. [Psalm 141:2 (NLT)]

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. [Revelation 5:8 (NLT)]

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