Why Your Prayers Are Powerless Over Your Money

by Shawanda Greene

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During the infancy of You Have More Than You Think, I wondered if I should discuss religion. After all, our religious beliefs, or lack thereof, could strongly influence the way we manage our money. But still, religion is such a sensitive issue. I don’t wanna get any of my readers all worked up if I say something offensive.

There are people far more intelligent and emotionally stable than me who’ve been reduced to physical violence because they made the foolhardy decision to challenge another’s beliefs. Well I, for one, will not be making such an idiotic mistake.

Or will I? Mmm, I will.

So, here’s the problem: God ≠ Genie. I’ll admit I’m not above asking God to help me locate my keys. Interestingly enough, the “bless me to find my keys” prayers have all but stopped since I started hanging them on the key hook by my entrance door. As it turns out, I have a lot more control over my ability to leave the house than my daily key prayer suggested.

Our finances are no different. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask God the desires of your heart, but can you give Him a hand? I know someone whose business has performed poorly for the last few years. When I ask this individual what their plans are to get new clients, they rarely deviate from “I gotta start believing God for financial increase around here.” That’s fine. But whatever happened to marketing, budgeting, and strategizing? What about a plan?

Well over a decade ago, I heard my hometown pastor say something that shaped my approach to solving practically all of my adult problems.

You do what you can in the natural, and let God take care of the supernatural.

I’ve yet to meet or even hear of someone who obtained financial wealth simply by believing for it. You might be able to give me an example of such a person, but I know the overwhelming majority of financially successful people did more than pray for monetary wealth.

In fact, praying can be indistinguishable from wishing. In some instances, prayers are nothing more than feel good fronts for inaction. I won’t belabor the issue. It’s clear where I stand. Where do you stand?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tia September 16, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Great Post. I had this conversation with a friend, not about finances but about decisions in general. I shared with her an aha moment that I had from reading 48 Days to The Work You Love. Dan Miller described it as “sanctified ignorance.” Like you say, you have to meet God half way, you can’t wait on the Lord for everything. You have to take action.


Shawanda Greene September 22, 2009 at 9:20 PM

I’ve also encountered people who’ll fast and pray for a divine answer to a particular problem. They already know what to do. They’re just wasting time.


Torrey September 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Does money grow on trees? Of course not. And some people with their prayers for money (and other things) use the same principle as that questions we tell kids when explaining them how hard money is to obtain.

The problem is people want all of the riches with none of the work. These same people as apt to order get-rich quick products from late-night infomercials.

If you want something, put an real effort towards it. Then God will help you out is he thinks it’s in your best interest (if you believe in a higher power, of course).


Suzy September 22, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Thanks for this post. I always refer back to the saying “God helps those who help themselves”. It wasn’t until I took control of our finances and started budgeting that we started spending less then we earned. Now we have all of our taxes paid, a full tank of oil and money to spare! God has given me the ability to manage this stuff. It’s my job to use it.


Shawanda Greene September 22, 2009 at 9:17 PM

I’m glad you know what it feels like to use your God given abilities. Sometimes I wonder, why wait for a miracle when the circumstances don’t call for all that?


Peter November 5, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I think often that people pray for things passively – wanting God to do all the work for them – to perform a miracle – when in fact they should be praying actively, asking for things, and accepting God’s gifts when they come their way, even if it isn’t in the way they expected. They have to expect that they might have to do some work on their end – be active – and keep an eye out for opportunities that God might send their way (sometimes opportunities that they might not have wanted or expected)

Reminds me of the story of the drowning man who prayed for God to save him. 3 people came upon him in boats, and three times he turned down their help because he wanted to “have faith” that God would save him. Then he drowns. He gets to heaven and asks God why he wasn’t saved. God tells the man that he sent three boats to save him, but the man rejected their help. The point of the story? When God answers our prayer (if it is his will), sometimes it will be answered in ways that we didn’t expect, and often it will require us to make a step of faith and to take active participation in the answer to prayer.


YFS December 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM

I agree 100%. Many people forget that Faith has an "I" in it. I and definitely found of your pastors saying of "handle the natural and let god handle the supernatural"


A. Gonz February 20, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Let me start by saying prayer is oh so important and critical in the life of a believer…but prayer is not suppose to be just rambling off a wish list! I TOTALLY agree with this post! Faith without works is dead! Many people already know what to do, but they don't want to do it, they don't want to work hard for it and then expect God to swoop in and fix their mess and do everything else. Doesn't work like that and never has!


Shawanda February 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

"Doesn't work like that and never has!"

It really gets under my skin when I hear pastors preach about tithing as if it's a magical fix to money problems. It's an effective way to convince a lot of people to open their wallets and give to the church. I understand the church has bills that need to be paid, but I don't agree with the deception.


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