May 26 I Wednesday
1 Chronicles 28-29
“…pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” —Matthew 6:6
There are three significant ways in which prayer is rewarded. The first is that it brings us into intimate communion with God. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He began with, “Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9). This is the first time in the Bible that God is addressed as “Father”––in a personal way. In the Old Testament, God is called “Father” in a metaphorical sense, like the Father of creation. In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, He speaks 17 times of God as Father in an intimate way. This was radically new to the Jewish people, so much so, it was considered blasphemy to address God as their Father. When Christ becomes our Saviour, God becomes our Father as we become united to Christ, sharing 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 as it is in heaven” (Matthew 5:9-10). This is not about 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 God 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 God’s will to be done, whatever the issue, because He is sufficient for any situation.
The third reward prayer brings is provision from God. There are three personal requests: “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:11-13). This presents our physical, moral and spiritual needs. Physically, God provides today what we need for today. We are not to stockpile our blessings, but learn to live with a fresh dependence on God for what we need today. Morally, we cannot put every relationship right because it takes two people, but we can be forgiving of others, as God is forgiving of us. Spiritually, the closer we come to God, the more Satan will try to lure us away. Without God’s protection, we are no match for Satan, but we can stand in the strength of Christ against him.
Intimate communion with God, alignment with God, and provision from God are received from Him, not as an answer to prayer, but as a reward. Prayer answered is secondary to prayer being rewarded.
Prayer: Dear Father, teach me to value what You value. May I not come to You in prayer primarily for results, but for the blessing and reward of communion with You. Thank You, Father.