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Verse for Today: Saturday, March 05, 2011
Matthew 6:18b – Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

It is one thing to receive provisions from the Lord for our daily needs, but yet another thing to receive special rewards from the Lord for praying. These rewards are not for doing some special service for the Lord, but for simply trusting Him and obeying His commandments in prayer. It is true that God answers prayer and His answers are in accordance to His will and pleasure and at His time. But God takes special note when His children deny themselves of basic needs like food and pray in secret. He understands our special burden and concern when we go to the extent of denying ourselves of food and set apart time to pray for special needs. But if we publicize our time to pray in fasting, the very purpose of fasting is defeated and such prayers are understood to be for attracting attention from others about our high level of spirituality. But when we fast and deny ourselves of food secretly, it comes out of our great concern and burden about special needs which are uppermost in our minds. The burdens are such that we do not even consider our daily intake of food important. When the body demands food, the soul denies itself of this basic need and cry before the Lord. But the reward comes for doing it secretly so that only the Father will know that we are denying ourselves of food. Such prayer in devotion to the Lord and the burden of the need are rewarded by the Lord in special ways. He rewards us first of all by giving us the assurance that He hears our special burdens and concerns. He realizes that the solution to the burden and problem is more important to us than eating and drinking. He also recognizes our desire not to attract attention to our act of denial so that there won’t be any human recognition for our self denial. When we pray with such fervency, there will be special rewards for us. He will answer your prayers and lift up the burden.

Dear friend, are you so much burdened about some special need in your personal, family or church life that you don’t even feel like eating or drinking, and instead want to pray? Do you feel that your burden is such that you don’t think about your basic needs of food and drink and other comforts as you go to the Lord in prayer? Such prayer with fasting will certainly help you to devote more attention to the need for unburdening yourself before the Lord. You are commanded to pray and fast in secret for your special need. You are advised that if you want the Lord to hear your prayers and see your spirit of denying yourself of food and drink, then it is important that the Lord alone need to take note of your deep anguish and burden about your special need. If you pray in secret and demonstrate your special need, there is a special reward awaiting you from the Lord. He is moved when one of His children deny himself of basic necessities in life and wait for Him in prayer. You will receive His reassurance that He will meet your need, lift up your burden and keep on increasing your faith to trust Him. Certain burdens are lifted up through prayer, whereas certain other burdens are lifted up by persistent prayer. But certain huge burdens are lifted up by praying with self denial as such prayer demonstrate our sincere concern, priority and the urgency. He will reward us by answering our prayers in secret as we submit our needs with importunity before the Lord. Some times, a group of believers might feel the need to pray with self denial, like the brethren at Antioch with spiritual concern which opened the doors to world missions. We see that Nehemiah fasted and prayed for equipping himself for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the Lord rewarded Him with the privilege of undertaking that task. We see the Psalmist David fasting and praying for others. Jesus Himself taught that certain serious ailments and satanic attack may not pass away without prayer in fasting. In all of these, we find the reward received by His people who denied themselves of basic necessities. Let us today unburden ourselves before the Lord in prayer and self denial and kneel before Him with our burdens. Our Lord is out there waiting to reward us by lifting our burdens and meeting our needs.

Matthew 17:21 – But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Thought for Today
Secret unburdening in prayer and fasting before the Lord is rewarded with secret blessings like personal peace, sleep, joy, comfort, patience and strengthening of our faith to get victory over burdens and difficulties.

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