One of the most difficult tasks of the spiritual life is to tame our egos in the discernment process. This means submitting our will to God's Will, and trying not to color what should happen with what we want to happen.
Jesus addressed this in the prayer he taught his disciples, "Your will be done, on earth as in heaven." Prayer is discerning God's will for planet earth and how our lives fit into God's big picture. Sometimes discernment reinforces what we think should happen and sometimes our original idea is redirected through prayer. A critical ingredient of prayer is listening.
Sometimes prayer "fires us up" to be change agents in the world, to work for justice, to be engaged in mission, etc. Sometimes prayer "slows us down" when we are too headstrong to get our way. Have you ever had your way and then regreted it? There's wisdom in the saying, "Be careful what you pray for, you might get it."
Prayer can give us needed confidence and it can tame our passions when needed, such as when our choice for a new head coach is not hired, or our candidate is not elected, or when we don't receive the position we were certain God intended for us, etc.
Fear, doubt and passion can be stirred when we don't get our way with money. This can lead to anxiety or conflict in marriage, at work, and in the church.
When we are presented with a "money opportunity," a good approach is to prayerfully consider what to do. How do we handle an increase or decrease in income? How do we decide how much to give? We make better money decisions when we prayerfully consider how our action fits into God's big picture.
To prayerfully consider is good language for pastors and lay leaders to use when encouraging others to take a step of faith in any realm of church life--including financial giving.
- Ted Leach