Prayer

A friend recently asked me about the doctrine of rewards. Her curiosity was regarding the nature and timing of the divine retribution mentioned in a few Bible passages. Rather than giving in to my temptation to offer a premature explanation, I chose to investigate the link between diligent prayer and the hope of rewards; what I discovered was that the faithful prayer partner should expect double blessings – rewards now and later.

Believers are commanded to pray (see Matt. 7:7 and 1 Thess. 5:17). Our desire to obey and follow the example of our Lord and the apostles (John 17, Acts 6:4) can be supplemented by the hope of rewards. Scripture seems to teach that the committed prayer warrior enjoys present (though not necessarily immediate) and future divine recompense.

In a section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus contrasts two responses to the discipline of prayer. Men, who can only see outwardly expressions of religiosity, will grant their rewards to approved candidates according to human standards. The Master does not tell us what these rewards are, only that they are in full (Matt. 6:5). The Father, on the other hand, sees the heart and responds to faithful prayer with presumably different recompenses; but again, we are not told what they are. Christ, in his infinite wisdom simply left the promise that a faithful prayer life will yield special dividends (Matt. 6:6).

Although Matthew 6:5-6 is silent as to the nature of the divine award, should we not consider the ever-timely answers from God (whether positive or negative) far better than any standing ovation from men? If drawing near through prayer is highly encouraged (Heb. 4:16), why not conclude that mercy and grace in time of need are instant bonuses from the Rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

The hope of future rewards is another motivator for the prayer warrior. Every believer is scheduled to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Our works will be tested and rewarded accordingly. That means that every second on our knees is registered in heaven. Every intercession made on behalf of our various ministries here at Shadow Mountain is recorded by Jesus. Your faithfulness, though not always public, is observed by the One who sees what is done in secret (Matt. 6:6), and He will make certain that The Son Himself personally hands out heavenly accolades (Rev. 22:12).

Question: Have you considered what rewards await you, who are a faithful prayer warrior?  

photo credit: Lel4nd via photopin cc

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