Firebox 1: Let my prayers rise before you like incense – 24 hours of Worship, Portsmouth Cathedral 29/30 Oct

A meditation: light some charcoals and put some incense on them, let the young people watch the incense rise whilst they listen to this.

Scripture: Psalm 141:3 “Let my prayers rise before you like incense”


Place sand in Balti Dishes, charcoal on sand. Set alight and when fully lit, add incense to charcoal.

In the beginning, there was nothing: nowt, zilch, nada. In the midst of the nothing there formed a breath.

The breath of God was moving in the nothing, and as it held, it formed, shaped.

The breath spoke, and there was shape and form and substance.

See as the incense hangs in this place. See how it forms and reforms. Uncapturable, unmastered: shape and form and yet so wonderfully complex that we cannot describe it fully. That is God. Beyond shape, beyond describable form, and just like the scent of holiness that now hangs in this space, it penetrates all that it touches.

When you leave this place, the smell will be absorbed into your clothes; deep into the fabric of our lives, this incense weaves the power of God.

What do you see in the ever changing column of smoke. Look and you might see faces, animals, clouds and figures. As the dancing smoke takes shape, breaks and reforms, so all of Gods creation is brought to mind. And further, deeper, you see something more: a shape which is Gods plans for you.

Just as this smoke rises into the air, so do your prayers, your wishes, your deepest desires. Let my prayers rise before you like incense writes the Pslamist. Let your prayers rise.

And as your prayers rise, become absorbed into this holy smoke, breathe deeply. Inhale the breath of life, the breath of creation, the breath which brought you into being.

And listen.

Listen to what God says to you. Feel in your soul.

Breathe on me, breath of God.