Honor God In Prayer and Fasting – He Will Reward You

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-01-16
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 6:6; 17-18;
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God,[f] praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.
17–18 When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face[p] and groom yourself and realize that your Father in the secret place is the one who is watching all that you do in secret and will continue to reward you openly.”

OBSERVATION: Most people will go an extra mile if they know that a reward awaits them! I was traveling extra miles to receive the rewards of a gas card, until I realized it was only pennies that I was saving per gallon of gas! But many institutions offer a rewards credit card, because they know that the customer will use the card more than any other card in their wallet. Jesus told the disciples what they needed to do to receive the attention of their Master and be rewarded by Him. This is important to us today, because He will also see us and reward us appropriately.

APPLICATION: Although rewards come in different forms, I believe that the idea is still inviting to saints today. Imagine: If you accept Jesus as Lord, He will care for you and watch over you until you meet Him in heaven one day with the Father; If you call on the name of Jesus, He will heal you and make you whole again; If you obey His commands and live according to His will, He will bless you; etc, etc. However, I believe that our Scripture today reveals that God has some specific ways that we might best follow His commands:
1. Pray – When you pray, know that it’s not for the purpose of impressing the pastor, the Sunday School teacher nor anyone else. I don’t believe that God is trying to discourage corporate prayer, but instead He is teaching us to keep our minds focused on the One to whom we are praying. Avoid the distractions of who’s sitting next to you, or the honor of who else is in the room where you are praying, and instead focus on the God of the universe, the One who made heaven and earth and every living creature – the only One who is capable of answering your prayer. Worship Him with the honor He deserves, and respectful ask Him for the desires of your heart and as they might fit into His perfect will;
2. Fasting – I believe it is appropriate to first say that I believe the idea of fasting is to better enable you to concentrate solely on the purpose of your prayer, without having to worry about the one thing we feel is so necessary – food. In other words, you are taking a specific need to God while saying to Him that there is nothing more important in your life at that time. To do this in all sincerity, Jesus taught that it would be an agreement strictly between you and God. Your neighbor wouldn’t hear you whining about the lack of food, nor would they see you frowning over the want for something you committed to God to do without. You would not be looking for praise from anyone about your decision to Fast, so you would be strictly confidential about it. You will have no need to think how good you are to make such a sacrifice, because you will quickly realize that you are but a particle of dirt when you stand before the Great I Am.
Friends, God said that these are two important aspects of our Christian journey, and when we seek Him through our private prayer, and through our confidential fasting, He will see it and He will reward us openly. Not sure why Jesus thought to tell us that God will reward us ‘OPENLY’, but I could only assume that God will want others to see that we are blessed by Him because of the relationship we have with Him. Often this will cause someone to look on, learn and try to duplicate whatever it is that we are doing. I believe that God would quickly affirm – mission accomplished!

PRAYER: It all seems simple enough that these are things we should do as children of the Most High God. But seeing that You had the need to teach Your closest companions/helpers these basic principles, I believe that You also knew that even after we learned from You and the disciples, we too would struggle to achieve Your ideals in these areas. The distractions seem to have gotten worse for us Lord, for there are now electronic devices, Social Media, incurable diseases, etc. So Lord, we need You more today than ever before to help us stay focused on You, Your work, Your Word and our time alone with You. I am humbly asking for You to soften our hardened hearts and draw us into a deeper personal relationship with You. Oh that we might come to You more often in ways described in today’s Scripture. Perhaps we might then be more serious about our prayer life and our relationship with You. Have Your will and way in our lives dear Lord, so that You may be glorified on earth, as You are in Heaven. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Fasting and Prayer

Thursday, 2019-01-17

Bible Reference: Matthew 6:16-18
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 16 “When you fast, don’t look like those who pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable, gloomy, and disheveled.[o]Believe me, they’ve already received their reward in full.17–18 When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face[p]and groom yourself and realize that your Father in the secret place is the one who is watching all that you do in secret and will continue to reward you openly.”

OBSERVATION: The Word of God is clear that if we publicize that we are fasting, our reward will be nothing more than what we hear back from our audience. That defeats the whole purpose of fasting, for we are dedicating ourselves to petition God for a specific need that we have personally, or corporately. Today, let us consider why we should fast, how should we fast, and what do we expect from a fast.

APPLICATION: I believe that when you look at an entrepreneur starting out in business – one that is pictured in their mind as a unique opportunity to fulfill a specific need for consumers, or industry, or intense profitability, you will hardly see them in their usual places of worship, at events with their family, or just having casual fun. For they are 100% engrossed in making that business succeed, and to be all that they pictured in their minds. So what about the Christian who is desperately seeking God to intervene in their lives personally, or in their family unit, or in their church, or even in their workplace? Does it seem natural to just ask someone else to pray, or casually commit those specific needs in corporate prayer, or even in your personal prayer time, when you tend to cover a wide spectrum of things, and of life itself, before God? I would say yes in all cases, but I would go a step further by sharing what I believe the Bible teaches on fasting and praying. You see, the businessperson spoken of above, will skip meals, miss family events, and more, just to totally dedicate themselves to their new business opportunity. In the life of a Christian, we might casually pray about the weather, or our child in school, etc, but consider how much more intense our prayers become when a loved one is barely hanging on to life, and the doctors are uncertain if they will possibly survive the medical issues they are having. The latter is more of the mindset of a believer when they fast, and dedicate time in prayer over a specific request. For they are willing to forego one or more meals, or perhaps give up caffeine or Facebook, or something that they feel could be sacrificed for dedicated time to plead in prayer before their Maker on a matter of prime importance to them. Think about if friend, what is the most important thing in your life right now? What do you feel is the most critical need in your life, or in the lives of those you care about, and for which you would be willing to do ANYTHING, in order to turn things around in those circumstances? Would you be willing to give up something important to you, just so that you could spend intimate and intense time talking to God about that? The Scripture tells us today that should you consider a fast, it is something that you decide together with God. There is no need to send a note to the local newspapers, or your pastor, or anyone else. For the pat-on-the-back you receive from those around you is the only reward you could expect. A one-on-one, intimate and private relationship with the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the world, our soon coming King, a commitment to commune with Him alone, and a mindset that you are willing to do anything as you seek God about a specific need, is the key to fasting and praying. It’s between you and God – no one else need be involved. Do you have a need of that importance to you today? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to dedicate the time in prayer before God Almighty over that need? What takes place in privacy between you and God, will be rewarded publicly by the King of all kings, according to His promises in His Word!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, it just rolls off our lips without effort or thought, that we will pray for someone. Oh that we may become a people of sincerity, especially in the matters of prayer. When asked to complete chores at home, we don’t look for excuses or distractions, but we seek to serve one another faithfully as we try to please each other in actions and words. The privilege of spending time with You, Almighty God, is beyond our wildest imagination, for who are we that our Creator, who put us together for His glory, should look on us in tender mercy and listen to our petitions. Please forgive us for our littleness, and our insincerity, and our lack of commitment. Lord, we need You every hour of every day, and often a lot more frequently. Please teach us to pray, and help us to see the urgency of prayer before the only One who could make a difference in our lives. May we be willing to give up the world to meet with You, Heavenly Father. You are the only one who could answer our prayers. May we commit to pray, and in times of our deepest need, may we never hesitate to fast and pray. AMEN!

Obedience Results in Rewards

THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – Matthew 6:4; 6; 14-15; 17-18; 33): 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

THOUGHTS: I found a common theme in reading Matthew 6. God had some awesome teachings, and He emphasized, or stood behind His teaching so strongly that He added rewards after each area of His teachings. Beginning in verse 4, on the subject of Christian based giving, I believe that if I am led to give to a person in need, God uses me to respond to the prayers of that needy person. While I might be eternally grateful for the opportunity to respond in giving, the act of me giving from my overflow of blessings is not intended for me to boast, but instead to allow praises for answered prayer from the recipient, so that God might be magnified. Then on the subject of prayer, we are taught to pray in private. Imagine the irreverence in telling our spouse everything, intimate or not, in a public setting? We are to have an intimate relationship with our Savior, so we are to pray to Him in private. In verse 6 we are promised that God will then reward us, or grant our sincere desires, as they fit within His perfect will for us. I included verse 14 because I wanted us to be reminded that God is not a push-over, or a Santa Claus just waiting to reward us no matter how we act or respond to His goodness. He tells us that He will forgive us based on our degree of forgiving one another. We must be willing to ask, pray and forgive in a manner pleasing to God, not for our own selfish reasons. Our submission to fasting is another example for us to show our humility to the God that we serve, and to reveal the honesty in the very reason for which we are fasting. When we do this in the right spirit and for the right purpose, God says that He will once again reward us. Friends, when we seek the Kingdom of God more than everything else, and when we live righteously before a righteous God, He promised that He will give us everything we need! Are you there yet? If you are not being rewarded in one of these areas mentioned above, then perhaps there are self-inflicted roadblocks preventing God’s outpouring of His rich blessings that He would really like to shower on us. Friends, let’s clear the path to blessings! God wants to bless His children, I believe. We just need to do our part to be vessels worthy of His blessings!

PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our littleness, our selfishness and our desire to please and promote self, instead of You. It is evident that You have such awesome rewards in store for Your children. Now if only we can learn to be humble and obedient servants so that You may freely pour out Your blessings on us. You alone are worthy oh Lord, and we cannot do this thing called ‘life’ without You. We are fully dependent on You, yet Satan is so determined to distract us from all the rich blessings You have in store for us. Please forgive us for our desire for independence, and help us instead to be totally dependent on the God who can do all things. We’re at Your mercy dear Lord. Please fill us with more of You and Your promised rewards. I humbly ask all this in the strong and powerful name of the only One worthy and able to intercede for us, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!