The perspective that comes when our top priority is to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33) changes other priorities when praying about finances. If we look at Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6 leading up to the command to seek first His kingdom, we see some of these shifts in priorities.
How Seeking First His Kingdom Changes Priorities when Praying about Finances
1) We keep the focus on God when praying and using our resources, not on ourselves. We don’t use prayer as a bragging tool since in seeking first the kingdom we’re not comparing or competing with others but rather aligning with Him.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do … And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love … to be seen by others … (Matt. 6:1-6)
2) We shift from making prayer about arm-twisting God to get what we want to getting on page with Him and what He wants. In so doing, we know that what He wants is what’s best for us for He sees the big picture.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt. 6:7-8)
3) We respond to answers to prayer based on how it affects His kingdom, not how it affects us. Consequently, we’re at peace, and content, to let Him determine what “our daily bread” looks like.
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. …” (Matt. 6:9-15)
4) Even in fasting, it’s not about how we’re sacrificing in order to engage in a more concerted prayer effort, but why … to align with God and His kingdom and righteousness.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do … not be obvious to others 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. (Matt. 6:16-18)
5) Praying about finances becomes more about how to steward His resources in a way that builds up His kingdom rather than us having financial security, building up our wealth or material resources. When we’re so preoccupied with saving for a future need that we can’t invest in the kingdom today, we may have crossed over into hoarding rather than good stewardship. We must guard against getting distracted from our top priority of seeking first the kingdom.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth … But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matt. 6:19-24)
6) When we seek first His kingdom and righteousness we choose to trust Him rather than worry about what we need. We rest in His faithfulness not our budget. Know that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow …