Studying Bible

Bring up the topic of money, and everyone has an opinion. The government should do more – or is doing too much already. “Income inequality” is the fault of greedy major corporations – or the fault of people who don’t take personal responsibility and work hard enough. God promises that His children will be rewarded with material blessings – or He is more pleased with those who give their goods away and embrace personal poverty. Prayer for financial help is a good thing.

When it comes to money, however, what usually matters most to you is your own personal bank account. Do you have a job or other income? Do you have the money you need to buy food, medicine, or basic personal needs? Do you have a reasonable home to live in and necessary transportation? Are you being snowed under by the pressures of debt?

As with physical illness, when people face money problems many believers turn to God for help. I hear and read the struggles: “Please pray for me. My job is ending. I need God to bring me another job.” Or, “I don’t know why God has allowed these things to happen to me. I need money to take care of my family.” Prayer for financial help is certainly a good thing.

God loves it when His children come to Him with their needs. But I wonder if sometimes those requests sound like Janis Joplin: “O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?!”

Someone said, “Yes, God feeds the birds. But He doesn’t drop the food in their mouths.” There’s a part we have to play in experiencing God’s provision.

Whether we have little or much in terms of financial means, we can fall into the ditch on either side of the money-and-spirituality issue. We can become worried and anxious about our material needs, losing sleep, overworking, grasping anxiously, and hoarding. (See Matthew 6:25) Or we can become lazy, careless, and entitled, believing both God and others owe us, and refusing to put forth effort on our own behalf. (See 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

Answering Your Own Financial Prayer

At whatever stage of life or financial means you are, there are some things you can do to move in the direction of receiving the answer to your prayer for financial help.

  • Know God’s view about money. There are several resources to help if this is something you don’t understand well. Crown Financial Ministries offers training and resources world-wide. Financial Peace University is based on a Biblical view of money. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject. It pays to study it.
  • Learn how money works. Not everyone who has money is a good role model. Look for those whose relationship with money is based on integrity, respect, success, and generosity. Study how they relate to money, how they made it, and what they do with it. Learn about good stewardship, a long-term view of money, and the mindset you need.
  • Keep money in perspective. Money won’t make you happy, cure your sickness, erase your emotional pain, or heal your marriage. Money may help, but only to the degree you use it for more important purposes, and invest just as much or more in the other areas of your life. Take time to nourish your body, your relationships, your mind, and your inner heart.
  • Give of yourself generously. Rabbi Daniel Lappin is known for saying, “When you meet someone else’s need, they respond by giving you certificates of appreciation: dollar bills.” That may sound simple, but it’s true. The world doesn’t owe you a job, or money, or things. Study how you can solve problems for your boss, for individuals, for the world. You will experience the rewards.
  • Learn to be satisfied and happy regardless of money. Paul said he had learned to be content with little or with much. (See Philippians 4:11-12) If you’re not happy poor you won’t be happy rich. You choose your mental state; it’s not dependent on your outside circumstances.

Those truths may help your prayers be more effective.

Praying for Financial Help

So how should you pray for financial help? Here are some thoughts:

  • Ask! God wants you to come to Him with your needs and your wants. (Matthew 7:11) Ask clearly and plainly for the material things you desire. Asking puts you in the frame of mind to receive, and it opens doors for God to work in your circumstances.
  • Seek first God’s kingdom. (See Matthew 6:33) That means more than giving to your church (though that is important.) It means that everything you do – how you treat people, the type of vocation you engage in, what you do with any “extra” money and time, what tactics you use in making money – must be a positive advertisement for God’s kingdom. What will others think about God because of you?
  • Seek wisdom, opportunities, strength. Just as important – or more important – than asking God for money or things is asking Him for what you need in order to accomplish the mission He put you on this world for. That will involve money, but even more it will involve courage, character, wisdom, personal connections, insight, skills, opportunities, a spirit of generosity, and much more.
  • Pray for peace. Security doesn’t come from the absence of danger or stress; it comes from knowing you have what it takes regardless of what comes. That’s what you receive when you have a growing, resilient relationship with Jesus. To paraphrase Dave Ramsey, All peace comes from knowing the Prince of Peace personally. Learn to trust Him with your money and your whole life.

So yes, go ahead and ask God for that Mercedes Benz.

And then treasure the journey learning all He has to teach you along the way to getting it regardless of what you’re driving today – or tomorrow.

Your Turn: Have you prayed for financial help? What was that experience like? Leave a comment below.

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