Encouragement for Today - May 17, 2005


May 17

Encouragement for Today


“Bottles and Bowls”

Ramona Davis, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member, Prayer Ministry Coordinator


Key Verse:


1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (NKJ)




My cousin has a beautiful bottle collection. She displays these unique bottles along the window sills of her kitchen. As the sun shines through her windows, the bottles seem to light up with various colors. Most of the bottles in her collection are antique and I wonder what was held in these bottles long ago.


A friend of mine collects gorgeous bowls of all colors and sizes with bright and colorful designs. These bowls are stunningly displayed all over her home.


Are you aware that God also collects some unique items? His collections reflect His loving-kindness, His compassion and His faithful love toward us. He keeps His collections in a bottle and some bowls.


In Psalm 56, we learn that God has a collection of tears! He saves our tears in a bottle and records each one in a book. This tender thought brings tears to my eyes. His compassion for me when I hurt moves Him to save all my tears. In my mind’s eye, I can see Him tenderly take my tears on the end of His finger and gently place them in His bottle, recording it in His book. As He carefully puts the bottle back on the shelf, I hear Him whisper to my heart, “Ah, My child, when I bring you into Eternity, there will be no more tears.”


If He saves all of my tears, He must save even my tears of joy! His delight in me causes Him to collect these tears as well.


God also has a collection of bowls. His bowls are golden and full of incense. All throughout the Bible we see His people offering incense to Him. The prayers of the saints are the incense in His collection of golden bowls! 


God gave Moses specific instructions for building an altar of incense for the Tabernacle. It was to be placed outside the veil before the mercy seat that was behind the veil. Incense was to be burned on the altar on numerous occasions throughout the year.


When situations in our lives cause pain, heartache and anxiety, God desires that we come to Him and pour out our hearts to Him. He wants us to talk to Him through prayer - in good and bad times. We are to pray in faith by the name of Jesus, knowing that He hears and will answer. Even though we can’t see His throne of grace, we pray in faith. Our prayers are so important to Him that He keeps them in golden bowls to be used as a sweet smelling aroma to Him.


Life can be painful and heartbreaking, causing many tears to fall and many prayers to be lifted up. Life can also bring such joy that it rises up in us and flows over into tears and prayers as well. I take great comfort knowing that He collects all my tears and my prayers. Be comforted knowing that He knows, cares and understands your pain and your joy. His tender mercies, compassion, and faithful love for you are forever present.



My Prayer for Today:


Father God, I thank You that You are compassionate, merciful and faithful in Your love for me. I thank you that You know every thread of every thought I have. You care deeply when I hurt and You care deeply when I am joyful. Help me to come to you in prayer with all my worries, pain and anxiety and trade them for Your peace that passes all understanding. Help me to come to You with all of my joyful moments and rejoice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:


Read Philippians 4:6-8.


Are you turning your worries and anxieties into prayers and praises? Ask God to prompt you to pray quickly each time you are worried or joyful. Ask Him to help you receive His peace that will guard your heart and mind. Ask Him to help you keep your mind on those things that are listed in Philippians 4:8.


Today, make a determined effort to:

Pray at the onset of worry, and pray at the onset of joy.

Release the worry into His hands and exchange it for His peace.

Change your thoughts immediately to reflect the things listed in Philippians 4:8.


Reflection Points:


Read Psalm 139. He knows all and cares deeply.


Power Verses:


Philippians 4:6, “Don’t fret or worry, instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” (The Message)


Philippians 4:7, “and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (NKJ)


Psalm 56:8, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (NLT)


Revelation 21:4, “He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” (NLT)


Revelation 5:8,  “When He had taken the Book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.” (NAS)


Psalm 141:2,  “Let my prayer be like incense placed before You, and my praise be like the evening sacrifice.” (NCV)


Additional Resources:


Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst



Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland



Message of the Month Club



Originally published Tuesday, 17 May 2005.