"Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee." (Psalm 141:2, RSV)
"What is incense good for? It appears to serve no practical purpose at all, and its smoke and fragrance soon dissipate. Our prayers are like that because they seem to accomplish little and they soon vanish, but God likes the smell of them." (-Elisabeth Elliot, Be Still My Soul, Revell, 2003, p.111)
What a thought this is! No matter that we cannot see the productivity of our praying - God says it is pleasing to Him. It lends another level of importance to the words we offer to Him. Not only are we interceding on another's behalf or asking for personal guidance or declaring blessing on a friend, we are involved in something that brings delight to our Father.
In recent years, I have discovered that prayer is not at all limited to the benefits we can see. God uses every word I bring to Him to further His purpose in my life. And the prayers I offer in my deepest chasm brings me nearer Him than I could imagine. After all, He is the One to whom the fragrance rises; what appears to disappear on earth ascends to heaven's throne room where it is effectual and blessed.