1 Chronicles 29:16 “O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.”
Do you ever catch yourself praying the same, robotic prayer before a meal or as your local church takes up the offering? One the best theological gems to be mined out of 1 Chronicles 29 is not what David and the people do before but after they take up the epic, legacy-leaving offering for the temple to be built by Solomon.
Here are some steps to keep your prayers and your sacrifices in harmony with heaven:
Give praise to the Lord.
After the almost spontaneous reaction of generosity by the people, David turned to the Lord in worship. He first extolled Him as the God of Israel (v. 10) and spoke of God’s attributes of eternality, omnipotence, glory, and sovereignty (vv. 10b–11).
A moment of tremendous sacrifice is about nobody other than the Lord to whom the sacrifice is directed. This prayerful focus after the offering allows us to embody the principle “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.” It doesn’t matter how much you gave or what recognition you get or don’t get. You had the glorious opportunity to offer up pleasing sacrifices to the God of the Universe that loves us and we love Him! Notice is verse 9 of this chapter, that lion’s share of the joy did not precede but followed the offering. Prayer enables us to constructively process and convert the “high” of a big offering into praise that reaches the ears of heaven.
Humbly admit that everything you give to the Lord was first given to you by Him.
David then acknowledged Him as the One able to provide people’s needs (v. 12b). Next he offered thanksgiving and praise (v. 13) with a confession that even the gifts which had just been presented were possible because the Lord was their original Giver (cf. James 1:17) of all things from His hand (vv. 14-16).
Fight, through prayer, the tendency to ruin a glorious moment of personal or corporate sacrifice by trying to take all the credit. You are a steward. I am a steward-that is-one is charge of properly managing the possessions of another! God doesn’t just own the tithe or any other grace-enabled percentage; He owns it all including “in whose hand thy breath is” (Da. 5:23b). Your prayer after the offering will reveal/remind your heart on this critical matter of stewardship versus ownership.
Recognize that God focused less upon the amount of the offering and more upon the sincerity of your heart.
Finally, David prayed acknowledged that the gifts were of no avail if given with insincerity, and so he affirmed that he and the others, had given from purest motives. Finally, referring to God as the One who had made a covenant in the past with the nation’s ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, he prayed that the Lord would keep the people willing and loyal (v. 18) and would continue His blessing, especially in enabling Solomon to have complete devotion to God and to the building of the temple (v. 19).
As much prayer is important to prepare to give an offering to the Lord, it is even more important in the “debriefing” to avoid pride or regret. Jesus reminds us, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt 6:21). The only way to main authentic relationship with God after you part with a healthy portion of time, talent, and treasure is through the avenue of prayer. David, a man after God’s own heart, is worth heeding on this matter.
Heartfelt prayers and offerings go together like “peanut butter and jelly” as much or more after the sacrifice as before the sacrifice. When you get done giving up/giving to the next big thing for God in your life, family, and/or ministry, don’t forget to “pray for the offering.”