The question before us is the role prayer plays in sacrificial giving. The answer lies in the quality of your prayer life.
I began my own prayer life with short, silent prayers. Monologues filled with formal, flowery language. What a revelation it was that prayer is supposed to be a conversation. Talking to God is essential, but so is listening to Him. With great trepidation, I started praying out loud—in front of people! I stumbled and stammered, trying to impress God and whoever else was around. It was a performance, I am sorry to admit. But God had a plan.
A deeper relationship leads to a deeper prayer life
You know we become like those people with whom we spend a lot of time. Spending regular time with God, speaking to Him, hearing from Him, and spending time in the Word all began transforming my relationship with Him. I used to think that God cared about people the way a political leader cares about citizens: concerned for our welfare but without personal involvement. He revealed to me that He longs to be so close to us, and wants to be a great friend to each of us.
My prayer life is no longer a performance or a monologue. It has become rich, sweet, deep conversations with my best friend. I retreat to my inner chapel, which is a verdant field with a stream trickling by. There’s a giant rock Jesus sits on. Sometimes we don’t say a thing to each other. I just sit in His lap and listen to His heart beat with His great love for me. I get so energized by these tender times. Then I am ready to do warfare and wage spiritual battles as an intercessor. Think of Miss Clara in the movie “The War Room” and you get the idea.
Prayer will affect your giving
So what does this have to do with giving? God is the great giver, and the more time we spend with Him, the more like Him we become. We take after our Father when we give. And when we are in close communion with Him by spending regular time in prayer, we can hear from Him more easily. We recognize the nudges of the Holy Spirit who will call us to do what seems to be a little crazy, like leaving a $750 tip on a $20 breakfast tab. Or, in my case, giving every penny you have in cash to a family that has fallen on hard times.
I had a small gift in mind.
But God said that was not enough. Half of what I took out of the ATM? More, He nudged. All of the cash I took out from the ATM? Still more. Every bill in my wallet? Getting closer. Every penny I have in my purse? Now you’ve got it! Once His will was made abundantly clear, I could barely wait to get the money where it belonged. And I was filled to overflowing with joy. I knew I had heard from God when I learned this family’s checkbook had a balance of two cents. Every penny mattered, and I had the indescribable joy of being obedient to God’s leading to give.
Pray dangerously, give radically.
A rich prayer life is a dangerous undertaking. Pursuing spiritual things really loosens my grip on material things. I long to be a channel through whom God pours out blessings to others. If you’re feeling a little bold, pray that God will give you the heart of a sacrificial giver and the courage to lead a radically generous life. He loves to say, “Yes!” to those prayers.
Join me, won’t you?