GOD PROMISES HE REWARDS PRAYER AND FASTING
By: Norm Rasmussen
If you’re in a season where you are struggling with praying, you no doubt need some encouragement. Please, let’s take a little refresher course regarding prayer to receive some encouragement.
Jesus tells us very matter of factly that when we pray in the proper manner, our heavenly Father will reward us. Who of us wants to refuse God's rewards? NOT ME!
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6 NKJV)
Here is another scripture promise that reinforces what Jesus just told us above:
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. – Col 3:23-24
And another promise:
Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58)
If praying unselfishly, especially against evil, if that isn't “doing the work of the Lord”, I don’t know what IS!
Yet here is where satan tries to shut down our prayer lives. He relentlessly puts darts of doubt in our minds, trying to convince us that God most likely is not going to answer our prayers, or that we’ve already prayed about a given matter, so what’s the point in bringing it back up to God?
What the devil conveniently forgets to remind us of is the FACT that if we persistently keep praying unselfishly, especially against evil, our heavenly Father is going to reward us for it … whether the prayer gets answered the way we hope God will answer it or not!
Let’s remind ourselves often … Jesus didn’t say that our heavenly Father is going to reward us by answering our prayers. He DID promise us that when we pray unselfishly, and not for public show, our heavenly Father WILL reward us, just for praying period!
Major big difference.
Satan trips us up because He knows we’re wired in wanting God to answer our prayers. And when we don’t see our prayers answered right away, or at all, we get discouraged and find reason to not want to pray as much. It’s in those times of not seeing our prayers answered that we tend to forget we STILL are going to receive a reward from our heavenly Father for simply praying – period.
Of course we may not be granted our full reward until we get to heaven for praying, but the wise Christian has learned to trust God to grant rewards when and however He so wills. God’s timing is always perfect, and His ways of rewarding us are also always perfect. Let us learn to rest in that.
Can a person spend too much time and effort praying? The Holy Spirit is fully capable of moderating such matters.
Engaging in the spiritual discipline of fasting becomes a bit more challenging than just praying, doesn’t it? We all love food, especially when we decide to go without it for a short while for the purpose of fasting! Praying just involves our time and mental focus. But just the mere thought of giving up food for a short season is enough to keep many Christians from fasting … that is how determined satan is to keep us from incorporating fasting with our prayers.
Praying and fasting has been known to move God to do miracles, and satan does not like to see God do miracles that glorify God and make us more determined to fast in the future as the occasion is warranted.
Tuck this precious spiritual nugget away. When praying alone doesn't seem to bring breakthrough in a given situation, consider fasting as well. Testimonies abound of people seeking breakthrough when they engaged in some fasting along with praying. The Old Testament gives many examples of how God honored fasting when God's people needed major breakthrough.
Jesus makes the same promise to us regarding fasting that He makes concerning prayer. When we fast for the right reasons, our heavenly Father is going to reward us. (Fasting to hinder and stop evil is for the right reason, if you have any doubt):
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites with a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV)
God honors all kinds of fasts, so beware of Christians who try to convince you that water fasts only are the only fasts God honors. Not true! If you can handle water fasting only, healthwise, you surely can’t go wrong with water fasting only. But God honors juice fasting as well, for those who have health issues, and/or those who need the added energy to function more efficiently. (Giving up certain choice food items at times as a fast God also honors. It's your heart God is looking at more than anything else in all this, and God's nature is to honor our humility and sacrifice. Giving up things we like on occasion for the greater good of God being glorified, always tends to move God to want to bless us in some way).
We must always remember: satan wants to rob each of us from receiving rewards (blessings) from our heavenly Father. He can’t rob us of our salvation, but he sure CAN rob us of rewards from our heavenly Father … if we let him.
Furthermore, when we pray against evil, satan’s kingdom operations are threatened. When we incorporate fasting with prayer, his kingdom operations are even MORE threatened. When satan’s kingdom operations are hindered by our praying and fasting … now he sees that as us robbing HIM of rewards, and he takes that very personal, and he’s not going to just let it go on passively without any resistance.
If you’re struggling with prayer and especially fasting, simply realize that the longer you struggle with it, the happier satan is.
Disciples of Jesus Christ … use your spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting often. There is no shortage of evil around us … and can any of us confidently say that we have too many rewards laid up in heaven for ourselves? If we DO believe we have too many rewards laid up in heaven for ourselves, let's say we lay them up for GOD to give to the angels who work so diligently on our behalf to enable us to keep functioning in Christ's kingdom work down here.
(A video well worth watching on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GS2pfhfeVc&feature=related)
Sub-note: There is an important matter that needs to be mentioned regarding fasting and praying. God reserves the right in answering our prayers if we are not walking in His LORDSHIP. Here is a brief testimonial that we all need to heed, to keep in wise spiritual balance:
read Brion's life journey
and it really spoke to my heart. I spent many years wondering why God will not
answer my prayers in my life. Of course, much like Brion, I would not surrender
my life to God and wanted to do "my own thing." I spent much of my time
drinking, drifting in and out of relationships, and being very depressed. I
accepted the Lord as my savior in college at 21, but didn't accept Him as Lord
until I was 33. It wasn't an easy path after that either. I have the tendency to
take the "Lordship" back as my own from time to time. Now at 40 and alot of
christian counseling, I have begun to learn to let the King keep his throne. I
still have many difficulties in areas of my life, but, as long as I leave God in
rightful place, I have peace that He is in control. I am now learning to trust
Him in difficult situations and accepting "no" and "wait" as answers to my
prayers. The Lord has begun the healing process in my life...my marriage, in me
personally, and beginning to give me peace with the past. Thanks for sharing,
Brion -- it has been a great encouragement to me!"
Here are some personal testimonies that address the topic of prayer and fasting:
Alcoholism & Cronic Smoking Broken Through Fasting (#1)
Caffeine & Refined Surgar Addictions Broken Through Fasting (#2)
God Refused To Let Me Lock My Door (#3)
I Sought God For Ministry Direction Through Fasting (#4)
Lost Yet Found In The
Forrest After Fasting (#5)
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