Once we’ve established that prayer should be an integral part of church finances, we need to determine our priorities in praying. What are we really seeking to accomplish through prayer? What do we really hope will happen as a result of praying?
Our priorities will grow out of a change in perspective that comes with seeking first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33). So, in this post we’ll look at that perspective and then in the next post we’ll reflect more on the priorities that grow out of that perspective. (You can sign up to be notified of new posts so you don’t miss it.)
Seeking First the Kingdom of God Changes our Perspective
Our perspective changes when it’s truly about seeking first the kingdom of God. Praying about finances isn’t merely about the money or resources we need. Our first priority is His kingdom, not the finances. That doesn’t mean we avoid the subject but rather that His kingdom remains our top concern. We see this order in the Lord’s prayer which begins, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Only after we lift up His hallowed name in praise and acknowledge and express our desire for His sovereignty in everything, do we ask that He “give us today our daily bread.”
Then, when we’ve prayed about our finances, if we truly believe that His kingdom and will take top priority, we’re able to trust Him that what He gives us is what we need to do His will. Even when we must readjust our expectations or plans due to the way He answers our prayers, we’re at peace. We’re be able to respond similar to the Apostle Paul when he said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)
God will guard our hearts and minds with a peace the world cannot understand (Phil. 4:6-7). We don’t have to fret about these matters when our top priority truly is about seeking first His kingdom (Matt. 6:25-34). The kingdom of God is about “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Making the kingdom about big buildings, technology, and top-grade resources often leads to worldly pursuits and means of getting there. Remember these words of wisdom:
Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. (Prov. 16:8)
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Prov. 30:8-9)
If God gives us a lot of resources in order to do our part in His kingdom, fine, but that’s not the priority. And, if He doesn’t give us all of that, fine, because that’s not the priority.
This Perspective Changes our Praying about Church Finances
One of the biggest changes we find in our praying when it’s truly about seeking first the kingdom of God is in our motivation. Why do we want a bigger or better building which requires more funding? Why do we want better technology which takes a big chunk out of our budget? Why …?
To compare ourselves to churches that seem to have it all and bemoan our lack thereof, sets us on a path to seeking first the finances rather than seeking first the kingdom. To that Jesus would say, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24). When it’s about seeking first the kingdom, we’re aligning with God, not other churches. And so, we pray “Your will be done” in regard to finances. In praying we’re seeking to get on page with God, not other churches.
To compete with other churches, trying to become the biggest or best, puts the focus on us rather than on the Lord and His kingdom. Our appetite will become insatiable and we’ll want more and more to make ourselves look and feel like we’re the best. It will never tend to be enough. But, when it’s about the Lord, we realize that we don’t need the biggest and best because we have Him. He is enough.