#353 - THE REWARD OF PRAYER (19/5/21)
“Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
If we listen to Jesus’ teaching regarding heartfelt prayer to the Father, we are promised a reward.
i) Answered prayer
There is much that could be said about rewards of prayer. Firstly, I’d like to focus on the reward of answered prayer. It Sounds obvious, but more answered prayer should inspire us to develop our prayer skills.
Answered prayer can be misunderstood. God always answers prayer. However, sometimes He says “No”. Sometimes He says “Later” and sometimes He says “Yes”. If we know God as our loving and perfect Father, we understand that each of these responses are right for us. He knows what we need before we ask Him. Later, in chapter 7, Jesus will teach us,
‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ (Matthew 7:11)
Knowledge of God as Father means that we will pray with great confidence that He hears and will do what is best.
ii) The comfort of the Father
A self-centred or dutiful approach to prayer will miss another important reward - the presence of the Father. Paul writes,
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
I’d like to suggest that much of Paul’s ‘comfort’ from ‘the Father of compassion’ came in the secret place of prayer (see Acts 18:9-11). Meeting and Knowing God are the most important aspects of prayer. Being comforted and refreshed in His presence are a great reward for those who will authentically seek to meet Him in prayer.
Jesus warns us that the Father will not answer prayer that is motivated by self-interest. If we treat God as a means to our ambitions, we have ‘received our reward in full’! However, if we come to the Father in love and humility, He will hear and reward us with answered prayer and the refreshing of His presence.
Are you believing the promise that our secret prayers to the Father are powerful and effective! Are you coming to Him as the only one who can truly comfort and refresh your soul? James gives us this promise,
‘... The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.’ (James 5:16-18)