There are three basic spiritual practices that we must learn to do secretly. Secretly here means not before men to be seen by them. These spiritual practices are doing charitable deeds, praying, and fasting. If we do them to be seen by men, God will not reward us. But if we do them not to be seen by men, God will reward us openly. When God rewards us openly, men will clearly see it.
The Lord Jesus said to His disciples,
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Mat 6:1-4)
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Mat 6:5-6)
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Mat 6:16-18)
When we do a charitable deed, like giving alms or feeding the hungry, we should do it in secret. We do not tell anyone before or after we do it. When a blind man begged the Lord Jesus to heal him, He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. After He healed him, He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town nor tell anyone in the town.” (Mrk 8:22-26) When we pray, we should go into our room and shut the door or go to a solitary place. We do not pray to be seen by men. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, the Lord Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mrk 1:35). When we fast, either we should go to a solitary place or our face should look fresh so that we do not appear to men to be fasting. The Lord Jesus fasted in the wilderness where there were no people (Mat 4:1-2).
Doing charitable deeds, praying and fasting can be done individually and God will reward us openly if we do it in secret, not to be seen by men. Nevertheless, God will reward us more if we do those three spiritual practices together. We do charitable deeds during or immediately after prayer and fasting.