Figuratively, incense was symbolical of ascending prayer. The multitude were praying while Zacharias offered incense (Luke 1:10, thumiama), and in Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3 f., the incense in the heavenly temple is connected and even identified (Revelation 5:8) with "the prayers of the saints."
Watching the smoke rise from my incense is even more powerful when I think of how my prayers ascend to heaven to my heavenly Father. I'm a very visual person...so it helps me to "see" my prayers go up before Him in my mind.
I do understand that incense has been heavily used in eastern and new age religions...but I don't see why they get to claim exclusive rights to it! It's biblical!
A psalm of David ::: Psalm 141.
1 I call to you, LORD, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer ::: Revelation 8
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God's people, on the golden altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God's people, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
My favorite scents...nag champa and a great oolong tea incense I got at Gong Fu. My incense holder is from Lotus in the Old Market of Omaha, NE. I love watching the smoke escape from the different cut-outs.