Texas Hoodoo hoodoo conjure rootwork


Prayers That Count and Psalm 141

Submitted Jun 13, 2009 | by Joseph Jagde

Psalm 141 reads as follows from the New Oxford Annotated Bible;

I call upon you, O Lord, come quickly to me; Give ear to my voice when I call you.

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, And the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord,

Keep watch over the doors of my lips,

Do not turn my heart to any evil,

To busy myself with wicked deeds,

In the company of those who work iniquity,

Do not let them eat of their delicacies,

Let the righteous strike me, Let the faithful correct me,

Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head,

For my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds,

When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,

Then they shall learn that my words were pleasant,

Like a rock that one breaks apart, Shatters on the land,

So there bones shall be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.

But my eyes are turned toward you, O God, my Lord;

In you I seek refuge, do not leave me defenseless,

Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me,

And from the snares of evildoers, Let the wicked fall into their own nets,

While I alone escape.

The first verse of this psalm is one of the more oft cited verses in all of the psalms with regards to prayer, where it says," Let my prayer be counted as incense before you"

There can be several interpretations imputed to these powerful words.

The overall context of this psalm is uncertainty. The evil and evildoers are in close proximity to the psalmist, with their presence representing a type of swirl, to where the psalmist believes that he himself can become entrapped within the currents of this swirl. For the psalmist, this is happening right here and right now and there is immediacy to his need for redress. Danger lurks in an approaching manner that is becoming a reality in these very present moments of the psalmist's life.

A key focal point of the psalm is found within verse 2 as he implores the power of prayer as an aid to himself and for those whom he is interceding for. His prayer efforts are not only for himself directly but also for the environment and people around him, both near and far.

Verse 2 raises several questions as well. To what degree does prayer count? The psalmist signatory in this case is his able position to go to the Lord in prayer and find that his prayers can be counted as incense.

David, the psalmist, speaks of the nearby company of those who work iniquities as containing delicacies, meaning that there is an actual lure towards what abides in their presence for him and for others as well. This is one of the dangers that he perceives from his point of view. His inner defenses are there in recognizing their ways as wrong, but he feels he can also be had by the evil contained within their ways. Part of what he has to lose if he goes that way is his vaunted or elevated position as one who can go to the Lord and have his prayers counted as incense. For now, he says he continually prays against the wicked deeds of these wicked men, so it would be a contradiction if he joined their ranks in any way and he will be compromising his position in his own prayer life.

Looking back at the first 2 verses, he is seemingly asking that the Lord be with him in real time, as the first verse reads, "I call upon you, O Lord, come quickly to me, give ear to my voice when I call."

In this nearby swirl of people that contains a mix of evildoers, there seems to be a degree of actual confusion for David as to who is who, as the evildoers are so close and intermingled with the people around the psalmist to whom he is looking for their insights and correction of his course as it is necessary that he has the help of others who are on the side of righteousness in helping him carefully discern. Are there some wicked people in the mix that have sifted in, to his advisers?

Incense rises quickly and this is symbolic of David requesting that the Lord receive his prayers rather quickly in the distresses of the moment. While his prayers can have faraway implications not only in space but in time, for what is happening in his life, quickness is important.

As far as the prayers counting, as the most important sacrifice or paramount sacrifice he can make, this psalm is saying this quite plainly.

It is highly likely though, that David has already seen that his prior prayers at times were already counted as incense and this is known to him by the effect they had which could be seen by him. It is rather amazing to know for an individual who has prayed that their prior unique and individual prayers had been counted as incense but this is possible. In the epistle of James, it mentions how Elijah prayed for rain as one of us and it rained for 3 years as a response to this single prayer. Elijah himself saw that his particular prayer was counted as incense to the Lord by what actually happened as the rains did come. He knew his prayer counted, by the visible changes to weather patterns that came about from his prayer.

Something like this could or should propel an individual to want to maintain this recognized ability and prayer status. Why for example would Elijah want his ability to pray towards great effects such as the rains compromised or lost? But this is what David fears in this psalm. If he becomes intermingled with the wicked, he might lose his status in the Lord's eyes as one whose prayers have counted. He wants to maintain this, and this is why he is saying, let my prayer count as incense. More than likely he is saying this because his prior prayers have already been counted as incense but he is not taking for granted that his prayers will continue to be counted as incense. He is reverent toward the Lord with a holy fear and humility and he is not taking anything for granted. It refers to his having prayed continually later in this psalm so he is approaching the Lord as someone who has already prayed continually, but also as someone who is still humbled by the Lord's ongoing choice as to whether to count his prayers as incense and while his prayers have counted in this past, he also wishes that they continue to be counted in the present and into the future.

In verse 5 David does speak of having prayed continually against the wicked, and this verse also speaks to the idea of praying continually or non stop about an issue of concern and therefore issues as invitation to do so. It does speak in a number of places in the Bible about continuing to pray, such as in Paul's epistles. The wicked though are so close that David speaks to them personally, as he says in verse 6, they shall learn that my words are pleasant. In this case though, it will be too late for them to turn back and this is also speaks to the ruin of the wicked, how they could look back to what they might have had, had they not strayed and had stayed firm of the side of righteousness.

He asks that the Lord guide him through the interceding presence of the righteous and faithful, who could correct him and serve as guides. He seeks a warning if needed and believes that the Lord hand is present in the actions of the righteous and his faithful ones on his behalf.

Almost anyone can begin to fall prey to the temptations of the moment. Even the smartest people can fall. David, we know from his writings was extremely intelligent. Here in this and other psalms, he admits to being somewhat overwhelmed by the presence of the wicked and also feeling some of the tug of their enticements.

His response to this is contained within verse 8 where he says, " But my eyes are turned towards you, O God, my Lord: in you I seek refuge, do not leave me defenseless."

Something to meditate on from this verse, is what would and what would not be turning your eyes toward the Lord. A turning away can gather into a single moment something or could become ongoing and while this might be momentary and at first harmless, turning your eyes away from the Lord can be the beginning of the end and even David who is highly favored by the Lord feels the need keep his eyes upon the Lord, and to not let his eyes go astray. Relatively harmless pursuits of looking elsewhere may begin to lead to the road of perdition. Sometimes people, who go to help the wrongdoers, end up falling into the same things themselves, because they have come too close. The main thing to preserve is the relationship with the Lord.

But it is very interesting that David is saying in verse 8, "do not leave me defenseless." In the context of this psalm, he is not talking about needing an army or something of a military nature to defend him against the works of evil. He is talking about his own ability to succumb to any of the trappings and devices of the wicked and how if he disarms with regard to this, it would leave him rather defenseless. When you think about it, the thread of defense or protection against evil in many cases is just an individual's own good sense or knowledge and that is about it. The defense mechanism is an internal ability to discern, to know, what is intrinsically harmful or what should be avoided. But an actual lack of knowledge or an inability to properly discern evil could lead to being defenseless. A breakdown in moral codes could lead to being defenseless. You don't have to look too far or reach too much to find out about deep sin. Sometimes all it takes is one or two steps in the wrong direction.

But we rely on the Lord's protection in so many ways, as we can be walking about unawares of the many different things that can go wrong. Here David obviously is lacking some information and he is relying on the Lord to help defend him through various aids included the help of the Lord's faithful who are present in the land and offer correction and warning as to who is who. Evil has aspects of corruption, where internal defenses against it can break down. Someone might steal small amounts from say an employer, and then gradually it becomes more and more. What is to prevent even say a bird from turning from its flight and attacking us, if it isn't for the mercy of the Lord and his control over nature?

Jesus told his disciples not to separate themselves from wrongdoers who were not brothers in the faith. He admonished his disciples only to separate themselves from brothers who were wrongdoers and operating on the side of evil.

The bounds of what can go wrong are very wide and can be broken.

But more so, this psalm is speaking to the inner mechanisms of protection as there are vagaries that everyone is subject to that can have evil connotations. The insipid presence of evil must be defended against. There is a common sense, a sense of right, that can be broken like a broken dam and that would ultimately or finally leave someone defenseless. If the first line of defense is broken, then there might not always be a second line of defense against participation in evil actions. It might be as simple as losing track of the possible consequences of evil. In a broader sense, it is a matter from this psalm of keeping the eyes on the Lord, as even David felt this necessary and the turn towards not doing this can lead to unsaid and unseen troubles.

There are several key points to this psalm. One is the idea that prayers can count, which of course is what we are hoping for in the first place. It is interesting that within society that counting and measures can predominate, even in one's thinking and also in what someone might be grasping for, if the count is good, then I have something. If the count is bad, then I have lost something. I feel better for example if the count in my bank account is higher. Here in prayer, David is counting with God, his prayer counts for him and for the Lord if all goes well. He may have seen some great results to his mighty intercessions previously as a great prayer warrior and he has already seen that his prayers were counted in the past. He feels better in having the knowledge that his prayers have counted. His bank account of prayers has been sturdy and his goal it to maintain that and not to lose that.

Another idea is prayer rising quickly to the Lord's presence, as a sacrifice of incense. This means that the prayer is in palpable form for the Lord, but also necessarily rises quickly to the Lord, real time prayer needed for real time problems. When the prayers rise as incense, they are not contaminated by evil. And looking at prayers that have already counted, the timeliness of the answers which came is a factor.

An additional idea is that given David's lauded status, what he counted as most important in the overall context of this psalm were his prayers. In verse 3 he says, "Keep watches guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips". He sees that what he says in prayer, is a door that can open many possibilities and he needs to guard his status as one who has these great intercessory powers by not contradicting this and falling into the traps of evil. He does not want to contradict or compromise his speech, which is his doorway to the Lord's presence in prayer. He can err on the side of evil even in what he says. This is why for example, someone championing an evil cause, say for example in modern times a politician, may not actually participate in the evil he or she is espousing, but the doorway of what is said has opened their own hearts to the ways of evil and its influences and their words can have an effect towards evil in the wider world of those listening to their speeches or pronouncements.

The ending of this psalm talks of retribution. Some of the words are rather harsh, where it says, "Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land, so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol."

As I was reading this, I was thinking of the Rolling Stones song, Shattered. Although these words are harsh, it comes down to these wicked men setting traps that were extremely harsh, and just falling into these very same traps themselves.

The final words are of this psalm are, "while I alone escape." Another aspect of this psalm is self reliance. David sees that he must keep his eyes turned to the Lord even if he is going to be the only one doing this. If no one else is going to be with him on this, he is still going that route. He may in fact be the sole survivor. He may be the only one who escapes, and remains to have his prayers counted.

These words also speak to the Lord's singling out of individuals as David is speaking of his prayers rising as an individual who is seeking the Lord and in this psalm it is the individual's prayer that counts as incense. In the time and place of the psalm, it might be David alone who retains these great prayer powers although there were others still with him at the writing of the psalm. Whatever you're praying for, especially in intercessions, you can't always assume that someone else is also standing in the gap with you for a particular intercession. You would hope that there are others, but there is no guarantee of this according to this psalm. This is why the onus to pray does indeed fall upon individuals. You might be the only one who is there, standing in this particular gap. It might be only you.

The excuse is not there then, that my prayers don't count. Seeking of the Lord must be done and done to the point to where your prayers do count as incense and continue to be counted as incense.

Where then did the prayer come in this that made all the difference in the world and was counted as incense? Could it be you?

The answer is, "It might be you."


Hoodoo Tarot