On this altar incense was burned daily at the time of the morning and the evening sacrifices. The coals used on this altar had to be taken from the Altar of Burnt Offerings. The incense used had to be made according to a specific formula (Exodus 30:34-35), and no other incense was permitted (Exodus 30:9). According to Jewish tradition, the incense was made by the Avtinas family, who closely guarded its secret.
The Talmud relates that the priestly family of Avtinas knew a secret ingredient — Maaleh Ashan — that had the ability to make the smoke from the incense rise straight up in a column.
Psalm 141:2 (ESV)
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
Revelation 5:8 (ESV)
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 8:3-4 (ESV)
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, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
We thank You, Father, for the golden altar of incense in the tabernacle, for the golden bowls full of incense in the throne room of heaven and the golden censer at Your altar. We thank You, Father, for the gift of prayer. Amen.