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  • Writer's pictureDeb Miller Robinson

Sacred Purification Prayers

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

I can only teach you what I have been taught. I do not speak for all tribes. I have been taught by my elders, Creator, Yeshua and Holy Spirit. To me Creator is Yahweh, Yeshua, & Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit).

For me there is an awe about the Sacred Purification Prayers with Natural Herbs/Sacred Medicine that honors the presence of Creator. It is as if nature is helping us to bring honor to the One who created it. An extension of prayer.

It is similar to when I come to Creator and partake of His Sacred Meal (communion)

Spending time with The One. Set apart to serve Creator-God.

In the Sacredness of Creator's presence we get to come together into unity with our Abba Father, Yeshua & Great Spirit. Yeshua (Jesus) made a way for us to enter into the holy of holies, (in the holy of holies in the old testament there was fragrant incense). When we enter in, we are touched by Creator, Yeshua and Great (Holy) Spirit. Because of what Yeshua did we can touch Abba Father, Yeshua & Great (Holy) Spirit.

Sacred means connection with Creator-God

We have the best of both worlds (physical and spiritual), when we learn to walk in a sacred way. This is a higher calling for us. How we should be. How we honor our Creator.

God's Word says we are all priests. It was the priest in ancient times that had the honor of bringing incense (sacred fragrance) (smudging-purification) to honor God. Twice a day, Aaron the priest burned incense before God. Aaron was consecrated to be set apart to serve Him.

Sacrifices and offerings (including incense which represented the prayers of the people) were to be made by fire. (Exo. 12:8,9,10; Lev. 1) Fire often meant the acceptance of a sacrifice by Yahweh (Judges 6:21; 1 Kin. 18:38; 1

Chr. 21:26). Leviticus 9:24 tells us that the sacrificial fire "came forth from Yahweh." The fire on the altar was to be continually burning. (Lev. 6:12,13)

Hebrews states: It is no longer necessary to burn incense to approach Creator - God, as we read in

Hebrews 9:11-14. I don't want you to think this is the only was to approach Creator - God. It is not.

We can sit with Creator - God and experience His presence in many ways, along with worship.

Incense (smudging/sacred - purification prayers) does not make atonement for our sins, as it did in the old testament, only Yeshua did that.

For me it is a choice. I don't have to, especially in a religious or traditional way, but I love honoring Creator – God this way, and I am blessed by it. Creator - God is blessed by it. I believe it is up to each individual in how they want to honor Creator – God.

I was taught to live in a way and honorable way that works for me.

Revelation 5:8 Now when it took the little book (scroll) the four living ones and the twenty-four elders (older folks) fell before the little Lamb - each one constantly holding lyres (or harps) and golden , shallow bowls being continuously brimming full of incenses (things passed off in fumes), which are the thoughts and speech toward having things going well and being at ease (or prayers) of, and from, the set-apart folks (holy ones, saints, sacred people). NT by John Mitchell

There are many scriptures in the bible where incense was dedicated to other gods, deities, etc (paganism/witchcraft). Yes the enemy has stolen from what the original (old) ways of how the incense was pleasing to Yahweh. For me it is not the act of burning incense that is evil but by the intent of the person (who are they worshiping).

In my culture smudging – purification prayers or what I call Sacred Fire is pleasing and honoring to Creator. The sweet fragrance is lifted up, and its rising smoke ascends to Creator that represents our prayers (an offering made by sacred fire). Our belief is that everything on earth has life and value. Prayer is a means to acknowledge that value.

I don't always smudge (sacred - purification prayers) every day only when Holy Spirit prompts me to. Only then I am aware of being set apart to serve Creator in a different way. That my prayers are honored in a good way.

This is a Sacred Way for us and we use Sacred Natural Herbs (medicine), for me it is a sacrifice of praise. Anytime we bring a sacrifice it is pleasing to Him and our prayer or gathering will be honored & favored.

As with most aspects of Old Testament worship, incense was symbol that pointed to a greater reality.

Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be counted as incense (sacred fragrance) before You, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

It is noteworthy that the Scriptures are clear that the fragrant smoke that ascended from the incense represented the prayers of godly people, those in covenant relationship with Creator.

The scent of incense mingled with the smell of burning sacrifices symbolizes the mingling of prayers of repentance and devotion. The book of Revelation portrays the blending of the physical reality of incense with the prayers of God’s people as well: “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God along with the prayers of God’s people” (8:4). The perpetual worship of God in heaven includes incense as a sensory image for the internal reality of lives offered in devotion to God.

The importance of incense in worship and its link to prayer explains why the Israelites’ burning incense to idols was so abhorrent: “It is because their people did evil, and they made Creator-God angry. They went to burn incense and serve other gods that neither you nor your ancestors heard of” (Jer 44:3). Those who burned incense to idols were twisting a symbol of true worship and using it to worship false gods.

Every plant on earth has a purpose & value. The herbs can be used for healing Revelation 2:22 states: In the middle of the street and on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree were for the healing of the nations.

Genesis 1:11-12 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seeds in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Plants have been given to us by Creator our Provider.

I remember one time when I was in Washington at a gathering of musicians (they would come together just play their instruments and prophecy with them. No words were ever sung. One would lead and the others would follow in new songs to Creator – God. There were some local natives there to enjoy the gathering. I brought my herbs to bless the gathering. One native showed me a different way to combine the herbs. As he did this and smudged – purification prayers over me I felt the presence of Yah for three days. I was caught up into the heavenly realm, the throne room of Yah, an experience that I will cherish forever.

I became aware, this was a Sacred - Purification Prayer to honor our Creator.

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints (God's people), rose before God from the hand of the angel.

And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it,and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations.

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

And when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations.

The scene in Revelation 5 is John’s vision of heaven’s throne room. When the Lamb had taken the scroll of God’s judgment into His own hand, “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people” (verse 8). Revelation is the most symbolic book in the Bible, and in this passage the “prayers of the saints” are symbolized as golden bowls of incense, held by twenty-four elders. Of course, the more symbolic something is, the more its interpretations can vary, but it’s important to understand what these prayers of the saints are—and what they are not. God established incense as a part of the symbolism system in Exodus 30:1–10 when Moses was told to build the altar of incense. The prayers of the saints in Revelation 5:8, especially as represented by incense in the context of temple imagery, should be understood to take the role of incense in the temple, which was to offer up a sweet aroma to God and to symbolize prayer. The prayers of the righteous are pleasing to Him. Psalm 141:2 describes this aspect of prayer perfectly: “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2). Prayer is linked to the incense in the temple in other passages, as well. When Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and tells him that his prayers have been answered, Gabriel is “standing at the right side of the altar of incense” (Luke 1:11). This happened when “the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense” (verse 10). There are certainly different types of prayers. Prayers of supplication are the type most people are familiar with, because that’s the type where we ask God for help! But there are other types, too, like the prayers of imprecation (Psalm 55:1:15) and prayers of intercession (Luke 23:34). The fact that the “prayers of the saints” in Revelation 5:8 are not identified by type or in detail—and that they are together in an incense bowl—indicates that we should consider them collectively. God considers prayer-at-large as incense—a sweet aroma to Him.

There are many different ways that we pray or worship: Our spiritual (heavenly language), praying with all your body (raising of our hands, dance, rocking-schuckling- in hebrew, swirling, with instruments, with our voice, with proclaiming God's word out, with sitting in our sacred place in silence (listening), with communion, with incense, these are just a few of different ways to pray and honor Creator-God. The fact that these are prayers “of the saints” in Revelation 5:8 indicates that God hears the prayers of His people. Psalm 65:2 addresses God as “You who answer prayer.” Our Lord “hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29), which is another way of saying that He listens to the prayers of the saints. The “saints” in Revelation 5:8 are not an elite class of people who are more holy than the rest; they are not mediators of our prayers (see 1 Timothy 2:5), and they do not ask us to pray to them. The term saint in Scripture implies parity, not hierarchy. We are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). The saints are all believers in Jesus, living or dead, saved by grace through faith. The church is “loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7, ESV), and, when we pray, it’s as if a golden bowl of incense is being carried to the very throne of God in heaven. Whom are these prayers of the saints for in Revelation 5:8? Since these prayers are the associated with all believers’ prayers through all time, they are about everybody and about everything that is consistent with God’s will. If you pray for somebody’s salvation, that prayer is in the bowl. If you pray for the safety and relief of people after a natural disaster, that prayer is in the bowl. If you pray that God would conform you into the image of Jesus Christ, that prayer is in the bowl. Such prayers are well-pleasing to Him. In Revelation 5, God’s plan is near to being accomplished. The judgment of the wicked world is about to commence, and the ultimate redemption of God’s people is about to be realized. The living creatures and elders sing a hymn of praise to the Lamb: “With your blood you purchased for God / persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. / You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, / and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10). The golden vessels full of incense are proffered to God, whose word will stand, whose will is accomplished, and who will pronounce the final “Amen!” to the prayers of the saints.

We can look at how other's beliefs of prayer with the saints:

Below, we share 4 steps to start praying with the saints.

Identify a Saint that inspires you. Choose a Saint to pray with that you're drawn to for their life or their words. ...

Draw meaning from their life or words. ...

Speak and pray openly with them. ...

Let them lead you to holiness.

This is how praying, can be misunderstood or get altered.

In my culture the Sacred Herbs are: Tobacco, Sage, Cedar & Sweetgrass. Some tribes have different herbs they use. I believe they used what was plentiful in their area, that Creator – God gave.

When we smudge-(purification prayers) we are praying with the elements that Creator-God has given us.

Water: The shell represents ocean/water, (this is where it comes from), this is what we hold the sacred plants in.

Fire: The fire that ignites the sacred plants and the smoke of this, rises up for our prayers to ascend to Creator.

Wind: The feather that moves the incense of our prayers, brings the wind of the Holy Spirit to assist us in prayers. Even the prayers of our mouth brings fresh breath out, that declares to the atmosphere.

Earth: The tobacco is the first sacred plant that was given to us from Creator, it comes from the earth. We bless the earth with tobacco to signify honoring to Creator for the sacred plants given to us. (this is pure tobacco not tobacco that has chemicals in it and is smoked which brings harm to people)

Tobacco – Represents the East: (remember - Yeshua is coming back through the east gate). It reminds us to pray with thankfulness and forgiveness. To offer tobacco is to ask that you and others be on one heart, one mind, and one spirit. That we have the same purpose to honor Creator, the earth, one another, & to walk in unity. To Bless and Honor. An offering to our Provider.

My Offering: I hold it in my left hand (it is closest to my heart) lift it up to Creator say a prayer and release the tobacco to the earth. Or if I am inside I will place it in my sea shell that holds all the herbs.

My prayer is: I come to You Yahweh with a good and thankful heart, to bring forgiveness where I need to forgive. I thank you Yeshua for all that you have done for me and continue to do for me, for interceding on my behalf. I thank you Great Spirit for teaching me great things that I can release to creation and others.

Sage – Represents the West: symbolizes safe, saves (Yeshua saved us) purifies the mind of negative thoughts. We signal Creator ones need of help from Him. Healing of emotions.

My Offering - I will light my sage (dried leaves, sometimes in a bundle) with a match and offer the smoke up to Creator with my feather. I then take the smoke circle it with my hand to bless my heart, my mouth (speech), my mind. The circling is similar to when the shabbat candles are lit and the woman circles the flames three times with her hands, to start the shabbat gathering.

Cedar – Represents the South: symbolizes protector, purifies, royalty, courage, stamina. Releases a pleasant fragrance to Creator and represents His power.

My offering: I will light my cedar (wrapped in a bundle) offer its smoke up to Creator. I then

take the smoke and circle it with my hand to bless my heart, mouth, mind. Then I use my feather to send the smoke up to Creator.

Sweet Grass – Represents the North: Symbolizes strength, endurance, purifies, unity, provision, set apart for Creator, braided together = unity and strength. (a three stranded cord that can not be broken). The aroma reminds us of gentleness, love and kindness earth has for people. It is grown all over the world a plentiful crop. For me this also symbolizes many nations.

My offering is done in the same way as previously taught.

I let each medicine plant burn all the way out on its own, making sure it is completely out.

This is the same with shabbat candles you let them burn all the way out in Jewish tradition.

I pray what is on Creators heart or on my heart. That is our heart to heart connection.

We intercede for many things through our prayers. I always ask Creator 'what is it, you want me to pray for?'

The original teachings (ancient teachings from Creator) that were dormant in my people, are coming alive. The synergy of the prayers of our ancestors meeting with our prayers to move forth.

How do we honor Creator by using plants to minister to Him?

Make us one with You Creator - in our prayers, our sacrifices, our actions, our love for all creation.

The plants are very good medicine (they are pure), collected from the earth, to be controlled by love and care. (Quote from Crosslin Smith – Spiritual Man of the Cherokee Nation – Keetowah's)

Incense is a combination of aromatic spices, herbs, and oils that yields its strongest fragrance when warmed or burned. The incense used in the temple was made of stacte, onycha, galbanum, and frankincense; any combination other than this was not to be used for worship, and this combination was not to be used for any other purpose. When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, he put a handful of incense on the hot coals from the altar. The incense immediately filled the room with a fragrant aroma and shrouded the throne of God on the ark of the covenant with smoke to prevent the priest from looking at the mercy seat. His senses of smell and sight had become part of the worship experience through the lighting of incense.

Throughout the Old Testament, incense was a crucial part of the worship to Yahweh, and its importance is underscored by the fact that those who burned it in an unworthy manner were severely punished (2 Chron 26:16-21).

The altar of incense was made of acacia wood with a veneer of gold. Acacia is a beautiful hardwood that is almost indestructible by insects. The altar was thirty-six inches high and eighteen inches in both length and breadth (Exodus 37:25ff). It served as a place for the daily burning of incense, both morning and evening.


Deb Miller Robinson – Eagle Warrior

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