[Course 27 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Prayer Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
This is a touchy topic for many. But God expects us to be faithful to Him in the area of our finances. This means the sometimes dreaded "T-word" (tithing). But it is more than that. God wants Lordship over your purse strings, and He will undoubtedly test you in this area. Jesus Himself said, "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money and finances), who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (Luke 16:11).
If you want to be an effective intercessor, God must know that His Lordship in your life is more important to you than your finances. He desires to trust you with the true riches of the kingdom -- His power and authority to do with the Father what the Father is doing. He wants you to realize John 14:12-14 in your life: "12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it."
The tie between faith and answered prayer is obvious. But you may be wondering how faithfulness in finances enters into this. It really is simple. Tithing is showing God that you trust Him to make your tithed 90% go further than 100% would go without His anointing. If you can't trust God to do that with your finances (a relative simple task,) then how can you trust God with some of the bigger issues of intercession?
John 14:12-14 talks about an authority in prayer where we expect to regularly have our prayers answered. God desires to give us this type of authority in intercession and in our day-to-day Christian walk. But there is a condition attached to this promise. Look at verse 15, the verse immediately following the promise: "If you love Me, you will obey what I command."
Now, God knows that for most of us, the area of finances is one of the most difficult to turn over to Him. So this is an area that He tests and grooms His effective intercessors in. He will sometimes ask us to give money, sometimes even large sums of money, to something He wants rather than what we want. Sometimes this does not even make sense to us. Let me share a brief story to illustrate.
I had only recently committed to walking out God's Lordship in every area of my life, and asked Him to teach me how. One of the first "lessons" He gave me was in the area of finances. My friend Lenora had recently become engaged to a young minister who lived by faith rather than taking a salary from his small church. God spoke to me one day and said, "Teresa, Raymond does not have enough money to buy an engagement ring for Lenora. I want you to give the money to him and to tell him it is from me." The ring Leona wanted was over $2,000 dollars, and was nicer than my own engagement ring. Well, I had the money, I'd been saving it towards something I wanted for myself. I spent a few days making sure it was God's voice and not the enemy's. The hardest part of obeying God on that was not giving up the thing I'd been saving for; it was that I'd be paying for Lenora to have a nicer engagement ring than the one I had! I struggled for a bit then God said, "I want you to do it this morning."
It was Saturday, I took the money from the bank and went to Raymond's house and gave it to him, telling him it was from God in answer to his prayers. He did not look inside the envelope to see how much was there. He did not invite me in. He simply said "Thank you," and closed the door, leaving me standing on the doorstep, feeling stupid. But the next day I attend his church and heard his side of the story as he shared it in a sermon.
He had been on his face praying when I knocked at the door. He was considering calling off the wedding. Yes, Raymond had faith for himself to live "on faith" but how could he ask his bride to do this? He could not ask Lenora to live this way. He complained to God that he did not even have the money to buy her an engagement ring. And he might not have the money to meet any of her other needs in the future. So he was going to call off the wedding. Right then his prayer was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was me, handing him an envelope. After he closed the door, God spoke to him and said, "Raymond, if you trust Me, I will take care of both you and Lenora. See, I have already provided you with the money for the engagement ring. Open the envelope and look."
God used that little test of my obedience in finances to speak to Raymond in a powerful way, to build his faith and to keep him from calling off the wedding. (By the way, that was many years ago and they are still happily married.)
I was wow-ed and amazed by what God had done. I began to realize that God had a "big plan" and purpose, and that if I wanted to participate big time in it with Him, I would not be able to hold back any area of my finances.
Of course, intercessors need to be tithing if they want to be effective in intercession. This is laid out in the Old Testament in Malachi, but Jesus confirms it in Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17 and Luke 20:25. He is asked if people should pay taxes. He asked them to show him a coin. They He said, "Who's picture is on it." They replied, "Caesar's." Then Jesus said, "give to Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and give to God the things that are God's."
From this we see that effective intercessors are to pay taxes and be in right relationship financially with the government. But even more so, we are to not withhold anything from God, not even our finances. That belongs to Him. Have you made a commitment to give Jesus Lordship in every area of your life? If so, you have given Him Lordship over your finances. Do not be surprised if He moves in and takes Lordship in that area. Be surprised if He does not, because if you want to walk with Him in power and authority, He must be Lord of your finances.
Also, there will be times where God asks us to give as a prophetic gesture (or a prophetic acting out) in our intercession. I have had this happen many times to me. Let me share one such story with you, from June of 1995.
Sunday, June 4, our pastor shared that finances were way down because people were not tithing and that if a financial miracle did not happen soon, he would have to take a drastic measure (like `across-the-board salary cuts' for the Church staff or lay someone off). He did not make a big plea for money or pressure anyone to give, but he did inform us of the financial situation. He mentioned that only about 25% of the Church was tithing.
The previous Sunday, I was in Toronto and Jack Deere had preached on tithing and it's relationship to our release into spiritual authority. He mentioned that we spend our money on what we value and if we are unwilling to obey God and tithe; we are telling God that we don't think He is very important. He also demonstrated from Luke 16:10-12 how God uses our financial rightness with Him (e.g., obedience in tithing) to determine whether or not He could trust us with the true riches of His authority. Jack explained that healing authority and the miraculous and even an authority in intercession all fall under the category of "true riches".
At the end of that Sunday morning service in Toronto, Paul Cain (also present in the meeting) prophesied that God was going to heal some of the people with terminal cancer as a sign that Jack's message on tithing was really from Him. And many people were healed.
While they were praying for people with cancer, The Lord spoke to me and said, "Teresa, your Church is not tithing."
Now, the following Sunday, our pastor announced from the pulpit that we were in financial trouble because we were not tithing. I prayed about this when I got home from service. I figured that I already tithed, so I was "in the clear". But I started praying for a release from the things that kept the people in our Church from tithing. I also prayed that the Lord would forgive us for our disobedience as a Church and would restore our authority.
Then the Lord spoke to me again and told me to "put my money where my mouth was." He told me to give a freewill offering of ten times my regular tithe above and beyond tithing. His voice was so clear that I did not have to seek Him for confirmation.
So the next day I called the Church office and talked with the person who handles the finances. I mentioned that the Lord had instructed me to give a certain sum of money and that I hoped this would help defer any salary cuts or other drastic measures. I had to come to Church for a meeting on Tuesday night, so I dropped the check off. (Ten times my normal tithe is a lot of money to me, but I was so confident that this was the Lord's will that I never gave it a second thought. I felt good about obeying the Lord on this but did not think about it very much.)
When I got home that night and went to bed, the Holy Spirit fell on me and it was as powerful very powerful. I was filled with extreme joy as soon as my head hit the pillow. God's presence was very tangible in the room and my spirit was full of His delight. There did not seem to be any great purpose in this visitation, and the Lord didn't really speak much of anything to me. It was more like He was playing with me. I can't give a detailed description of what happened, but it happened for about three and a half hours. I felt full to overflowing and it was so good just to be in His presence. I do remember telling Him that I wish we could do this all of the time.
When I woke up the next morning, I wondered why the Lord fell on me so powerfully that night. It wasn't until much later that He showed me that this was a blessing because of my obedience in giving the offering He told me to give.
That Thursday at work, my boss walked into my office and handed me a check for twice the amount of money that I'd given to the Church! It was a totally unexpected bonus. It did not even occur to me that this was because I had given an offering to my Church. I figured that the offering was an "intercessory act." I truly did not expect anything back from God; I was just obeying what He told me to do.
The next day, the Lord spoke to me and told me about the relationship He said that He is eager to demonstrate to His kids that the principles that He laid down in the Bible really do work just the way He said they would.
When we Lordship of our finances to God, He is well able to take care of us!
Now it is time to do a spiritual checkup with God in the area of your finances. If you are not tithing, you need to have a discussion with God about that. But, beyond tithing, are you really willing to let Him be Lord of Your finances? If you are willing, stop and tell Him so, and ask Him to empower you to obey Him when He tests you in this area.