November 4 I Sunday
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
We usually place value on prayers being answered, but in the opening verse, Jesus places value on prayers being rewarded. What is the nature of the reward Jesus is talking about?
Jesus gives three significant ways in which prayer is rewarded. The first is that it brings us into intimate communion with God. The Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9). This is the first time in Scripture that God is addressed as “Father” in a personal way. He is called “Father” metaphorically in the Old Testament, and is called the Father of creation, but in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks 17 times of God as Father in an intimate way. This was radically new to the Jewish people as no one ever addressed God as their Father. But when Christ becomes our Saviour, God becomes our Father in that we become united to Christ and share in His sonship with all the privileges a child has with their father.
The second reward is that prayer brings us into alignment with God. The communion with God in the first two clauses—“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name”—leads to alignment with God in the second two clauses—“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth…” (Matthew 6:9-10). This is not about finding a middle road between our will and God’s will, but about being totally aligned with the will and purposes of God. Our communion and alignment with Him are intricately connected because we will not know God’s will if we are not in communion with Him. In coming to know God, we can confidently pray for His will to be done because we will have discovered that He is sufficient and trustworthy for any situation.
The third reward is provision from God. The Lord’s Prayer includes three personal requests: “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:11-13). This comprises our physical, moral and spiritual needs. Physically, God provides today what we need for today. Morally, though we cannot put every relationship right because it takes two people, we can be forgiving of others as God is forgiving of us. Spiritually, the closer we
come to God, the more we can be sure that Satan will try to lure us away, and without God’s protection, we are no match for Satan.
Intimate communion with God, alignment with God and provision from God are received from Him as a reward. Answered prayer is secondary to the blessing of knowing and experiencing Him this way.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that in praying, I receive the reward of communion with You, alignment
with Your will and Your provision.