Is it OK to Pray for Money?


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?

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  1. Mary

    What a timely post; so many are struggling. I’m on the Dave Ramsey boards and I don’t think a day goes by without someone new signing on for the free 7 day trial absolutely terrified over a job loss, impending foreclosure or some other financial crisis. This post would be a great help to them. I think your advice is spot on by the way.

    I went through a really tough time as a single mom when my ex left us with no support. Looking back, praying for money (and trust me, I did) built my faith. He came through in so many ways and I’ll never forget those miracles.

    I just blogged about this too thinking of so many who are facing great financial difficulty right now. If you click on my name, you’ll see “latest blog posts” in the sidebar. I invite you to read “Directing your focus during difficult times”.

  2. Briana @ 20 and Engaged

    I’m trying not to pray for money but pray for strength, encouragement, and to be productive (to make money).

  3. Carol J. Alexander

    I have filled pages in my prayer journals over the years with how God has provided for our family. Rather than pray for “money” though, I’ve prayed for provisions…clients for my husband’s business, a new whatever, shoes for the children, etc. God has never left us without. One particularly lean year, every single time I thought to pray for paying clients, the phone would ring.

  4. Jason Cabler

    One important part of the prayer of Jabez is that “he was more honorable than all his brothers.’ When we are honorable and trustworthy and use our lives and resources according to His principles, He is likely trust us with more.

    It’s quite all right to pray for more territory, more money, more anything. But you have to realize He may not grant that wish if you can’t be trusted with the thing you are asking for.

    I teach participants in my Celebrating Financial Freedom course that we can’t expect to just pray for God to get us out of debt, He wants to see what actions we’re taking. If we do our part, it opens up the windows of heaven for us and automatically brings forth the blessings that He promises all throughout the Bible. This is true in every aspect of life, not just finances.

    “When you help me with money, you help the world prosper.”- J.M. DuMont

  5. Peter

    I think some of the key lines from the Lord’s prayer above are:

    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

    In other words, we acknowledge that God is holy, set apart and essentially that he knows better than us – and that His will should be done in our lives – not matter what that is. Sometimes His will may mean our lives will be uncomfortable, and we may not have “enough money”. But sometimes those are the times that we rely on Him the most and our faith lives grow that much stronger.

  6. Cherleen @ yesiamcheap

    We need money to buy food, clothes, shoes, etc… But I don’t think praying for money to buy the things we need is necessary. Pray for what you need and HE will send His angels and instruments to answer our prayers. God provides for us.

  7. Sherri

    When I have prayed the prayer of Jabez – I’ve always thought of expanding my territory as expanding my reach to those around me to show them the love of God – not in a financial sense.

  8. Rose

    My dad, for as long as I can remember, has included in his prayers thanksgiving for the things we have, and for the strength to work hard for it. He’s a life-long farmer, of a small family owned dairy farm. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever known, with fewer material possessions and less financial resources than most people I know. Yet his humble outlook is that everything he has comes from the generosity and provision of our Lord, and usually via the ability God gives him to work hard to earn it. (He does ask for God’s provision – finances, rain or sun for the crops, buyers for meat, etc. – but it’s his constant humble reliance and gratitude that always touched me.)

  9. Jesse Skinner

    I think it’s great to pray for money. I pray for lot’s of money, I have big dreams of reaching all corners of the globe for the gospel and supporting orphans and widows and so much more. Most of this stuff requires money. I believe God is more abundant than I know, more than I can ever exaggerate. He knows I want to bless others financially and He knows I don’t want to horde it for myself, but be a sort of middle-man to bless others. On the other side, I think that if God withholds money from me it’s because He wants to provide in another way (and grow my faith), or maybe I need to grow in maturity before I can handle more responsibility (more money or resources). But I also know that God really likes me and wants to give me more than just my basic needs, He’s extravagant but not wasteful. He won’t run out of money giving me more. Somehow He made the sky as big as He did and seemed to think it wasn’t too much, I mean how much sky do we need? He is soooo abundant, and as someone else mentioned, we are to pray “on earth as it is in heaven,” and there is no poverty in heaven, there are the more riches in heaven than on earth, so our job is to pray for what is in heaven to be on earth, sounds simple, pray for it.

  10. Samirian @MoneyWisdoms

    Tim, you have a way of posting articles around this subject matter that really provokes thought. There are some great responses here. Of all of them @Jesse is closest to my thoughts as far as the real need of money. In the context of your post: If you need it, ask for it. James 1:5 says, if any of you lack wisdom (or fill in the blank), he should ASK God, who gives generously to all without finding fault. Thoughout scripture Jesus says to Ask. He is a big God, He can handle it. I recently wrote a guest post for a friend on this subject: Prayering through a Financial Crisis (Lady of