Where are you on your generosity journey?
Maybe you already give but wish to be one who reflects Macedonian-like generosity. Maybe you started giving out of obedience to God but desire a deeper love for generosity. Maybe you haven’t started giving but know generosity should be your next step of faith.
Wherever you are, commit yourself to prayer. To get you started, here are a few suggested prayer points:
1. Pray that God will help you appreciate and be content with the gifts He has provided.
A lack of generosity is often found coupled with the presence of discontentment.
Discontentment in material possessions, bank account balances, and standard of living often drives people to spend more and do more, reducing financial margin and generosity. Discontentment in resources also encourages a self-centered focus—“I don’t have; I want and need”—rather than a focus on others—“They don’t have; they want and need.”
Hebrews 13:5 tells us where true contentment isn’t and is found—”Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’”. And 1 Timothy 6:6-7 provides a sobering reminder—“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we have brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world”.
Use the two verses as your prayer guide. First, thank God for all the good gifts He has undeservingly provided you. Then, pray that you will cherish the place where true contentment is found and no longer place hope in material resources and statuses. Ask God to remind you of the momentary nature of all this stuff you so desire. Pray that God will help you appreciate and be content with the gifts He has provided you.
2. Pray that God will transform your heart into one that seeks to give first.
Most of the world gives from their leftovers. They give to others the scraps they chose not to use for themselves. After all the bills have been paid, after all the needs have been met, and even after all the wants have been satisfied, then they give.
The world’s giving is comfortable.
God asks us to do something different—to give our first and best. Proverbs 3:9 tells us to, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest”. This prioritization of generosity means giving will not always be comfortable, but sacrificial. The budget does not revolve around needs and wants. The budget revolves around generously giving to God and His mission. We wait to meet needs and wants, ensuring generosity.
The world’s giving is comfortable. God asks us to do something different—to give our first and best.
Consider Proverbs 3:9 as you ask God to help you seek first the Kingdom of God in your finances. Pray that God will transform your heart to long to put Him first in your finances.
3. Pray that God will open your eyes to the needs around you.
There are needs all around you. But do you see them?
We are busy. We have things to do, people to see, and places to go. Most of us go through life so focused on what we need to accomplish that hour, day, week, or year, we miss the cries for help that surround us. We miss the sick neighbor who needs someone to make her a meal. We miss the church member who lost a loved one and needs someone to mourn with them. We miss the friend who lost a job and could use some financial help for a car repair.
Pray that God will remove the blinders preventing you from noticing the world around you. Pray that God will help you to really hear the words that your neighbors, friends, and church members are telling you. Pray that God will give you the ability to focus on the one in front of you instead of the next item on your calendar. Pray that God will open your eyes to the needs around you.
4. Pray that God will give you an eternal perspective on the resources you hold.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus tells us, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. God has provided us the opportunity to turn fragile and momentary resources into an eternal investment.
It is an astounding transformation. The deal is completely unfair and only made possible through grace. Earthly treasures turn heavenly when we use them to impact eternity.
Earthly treasures turn heavenly when we use them to impact eternity.
What eternal difference could the resources God provided make? How many will come to know God because you decided to put God first in your finances? What would happen if you viewed your finances through the lens of eternity?
Pray that you will stop seeing the resources God has given you through a momentary, finite lens. Pray that God will open your eyes to the eternal impact your resources could have. Pray that God will help you to focus more on heavenly treasures than earthly ones. Pray that God will give you an eternal perspective on the resources you hold.
5. Pray that God will allow you to see lives changed through generosity.
Biblical generosity can change lives for all of eternity. Biblical generosity feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, provides shelter for the homeless, cares for the orphan, lifts up the down and out, and heals broken marriages. But more important than all those things, biblical generosity showcases the love of Christ, hoping that they too will make Jesus Lord.
Pray for the recipients of your generosity. Pray that their physical needs will be met, but most importantly, pray that their spiritual needs are met. Pray that God will allow you to see lives changed for all eternity through generosity.
If you desire to live generously, commit yourself to prayer. Go to Him in faith today.