3/2 Exodus 30:6

6 And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you.

In the tabernacle there was a small altar for incense. It stood right in front of the curtain to the Holy of Holies where God dwelt over the lid of the ark of the testimony, also called the mercy seat. Every morning and every evening, the priest was to burn incense on it, so that the smoke of the incense went up continually before the LORD. It was there that God would speak to the priest and answer the questions he brought from the people to the LORD.

This altar and its incense are a picture of prayer. Incense was to be added in the morning and evening with the effect continuing all day and night. We can see in this the dedicated servant of God coming before Him with earnest prayer for himself and others. Though he does not remain in this special place all day, the prayer comes up before the LORD all day and night as he carries the requests in his heart. This is where God meets with us. He meets us when we come to pray.

Before the priest has entered into this sacred place, he has carefully washed himself and put on his special robe. This is a picture of us first confessing our sins and getting right before God. Then we can offer that incense of intercession and know God will meet with us. Since Jesus died for us, the veil that separated the priest from the glorious but frightening presence of God has been torn open. We no longer need to fear when we come before Him in prayer as we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Psalm 84:9).

Consider: Am I following through on this pattern the LORD has shown, meeting with the LORD twice daily and letting the incense on prayer rise day and night (1Thessalonians 5:17)?