It’s no surprise that the economy has taken its toll on people’s finances. If you’re feeling the pressure to provide for your family, you might question whether or not it’s OK to pray for money. There have been a lot of books written about prayer, provision, and trust in God, so this article is by no means a conclusive guide to all of those things. We’ll explore one in particular but our main focus will still be based on scripture.
In 2000, a book titled The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through To The Blessed Life was published and has since sold over 9 million copies. It’s based on the prayer found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 where Jabez prays to God asking that he would ‘bless and expand his territory.’ The author of the book The Prayer of Jabez, encourages us to incorporate this prayer in our daily lives and sets the challenge that you’ll see life changing results after doing so.
While some people criticize the book for contributing to the prosperity gospel (an argument we won’t defend or refute in this article), the fact remains that people still have questions about praying for money. Yes, it’s good to refer to the prayer of Jabez as we study how God provides, but there are other key scriptures that should be used to help shape the way we pray for God’s provision in our lives.
First, a look at the Prayer of Jabez.
There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.” – 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Jabez didn’t come to God with a ‘once and done’ mentality. He wasn’t asking God for a quick fix and help only in the financial areas of his life. Jabez acknowledged that he needed God in all the areas of his life.
The second part of his prayer was for God to keep him from trouble and pain. Jabez is asking for ongoing provision because he knows that without God’s hand on his life, evil motives and desires from the world around him could cause him to stumble in his relationship with God.
These verses aren’t necessarily meant to be the ultimate to praying for God’s provision. Rather, the prayer of Jabez is an example of someone who put God first in all that he did and trusted God to provide, which He did (and always does for that matter!).
Now, a look at How Jesus Instructed Us To Pray.
The absolute best place to see how we should pray for God’s provision is found in Jesus’ sermon on the mount. I’m sure the crowds listening to Jesus had the same questions about prayer as we do! But before Jesus shared with them how to pray, he first shared how they should not pray. He said that making a spectacle of yourself and repeating the same words over and over isn’t a way to ensure that God will hear you. Instead, he shared this simple prayer as a model prayer.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
You’ve probably heard the Lord’s Prayer before. I know that I’ve heard many sermons about it and we could go into great detail with Jesus’ words here. But with respect to the question of praying for money, I think Jesus helps us understand that we can (and should) bring all our concerns to God, but we shouldn’t forget to:
- Acknowledge God’s holiness and authority in your life.
- Ask for His provision, trusting that He holds tomorrow.
- Seek His guidance in all you do.
Jesus didn’t promise that God would answer every prayer just because we ask it in a certain way. I think he shared this prayer with us so we can understand that it’s OK to come to God will all of our needs, including our finances. When we approach God with the understanding that he is the center of our life and trust that he will take care of all our needs, I think we can bring all our concerns to him. Sometimes things don’t make sense and the answers we get aren’t what we want to hear, but God is always faithful.
Here are two key verses that we can use to remind us to approach God with confidence and to trust that he will provide for our every need.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19
Do you have any encouragement for someone who is going through a tough time financially? What are your thoughts about praying for money?