Joy, Gladness and Great Reward

Matthew 6:18 says, “so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Our Father desires to reward us through properly motivated fasting. I personally believe that this reward that Jesus speaks of is a spiritual reward. God certainly knows how to draw us into closer intimacy with Him.

“Again the word of the Lord Almighty came to me. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace’” (Zechariah 8:18-19)

Fasting allows us to have joy and gladness before God. People sometimes approach me during a seminar and confess depression. They typically want to know what they should do, and I often recommend fasting. They often get this look on their face that says, “You are an idiot. I’m depressed, and you want me to go without food?” God has a way of injecting more joy and gladness into our lives through fasting. How God does this is not significant. The fact that He does it is significant.

–Adapted from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune.  (Click on the title for more information about this resource).

Lord God, I admit that I don’t understand the paradox of fasting.  Depriving myself of food brings joy and gladness before You.  It brings great reward when I fast with the right motives.  Help my heart to be open and willing to practice what seems to be so unappealing to my flesh so that my spirit may be drawn into closer intimacy with You.  I know so many who struggle with depression Father, and it is a mystery to me that fasting could be a way for some to walk out of their darkness. Teach me to learn the joy of fasting so that I might help those who are suffering to discover it also!

Prayer Points
Praise the Rock—the one whose works are perfect and whose ways are just (Deut. 32:4). Thank him for being the God of truth. Confess any times that you have believed the lies of Satan and acted accordingly. Commit yourself to speaking only the truth in every situation (Eph. 4:25). Ask God to help you be a truthful person in whom he would delight (Ps. 12:2).

Ask that your loved ones will discover the preciousness of God’s truth (Prov. 23:23).

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend  (Click on title for more information about this resource).