How does one pray about financial problems? Is it ethical to pray for material gain? The Bible tells us, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (1) Yet the Bible is full of examples of God meeting the needs of those who prayed to Him. Perhaps the clearest guidance on this subject is found in Jesus’ words, “. . .take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?… for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (2)
During my freshman year of college, I felt hopeless and fearful about how I was going to pay for my college tuition. Although my parents had saved enough to put me through the first year, due to a bad business deal there were no other resources to cover the remaining years.
But, growing up in the Christian Science Sunday School, I had learned to turn to God in prayer to meet all my needs. This didn’t mean that I would ask God for money, a car, or something material like that. It wasn’t my job to tell God what I needed since God, divine Love, already knew my need and would supply it in just the right way. What it did mean to me was that I could always go to God with my problems and there find the thought that I needed to solve the problem.
So one day, when things seemed their lowest, I got down on my knees. I prayed to see that all of God’s goodness was available to me now and that nothing could interfere with me seeing this or trusting that God would provide a good answer. In line with this, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, makes this point, “Divine Love [God] always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.” (3)
As I prayed, I remembered the Bible story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with just a few fish and loaves of bread. (4) The story made me wonder what it must have felt like to be someone in the crowd waiting for food. If I had been there, would I have been fearful? Or would I have trusted there would be enough when it came my turn to share what was left? As I thought about this, it occurred to me that everyone must have felt satisfied and uplifted to a new trust in God’s love, knowing that they would be perfectly cared for and that no one could be left out.
As I prayed, the fear began to lift. I could feel my thinking shift from hopelessness to an expectancy of good. I didn’t know how my need would be met, but I now had a feeling that God would take care of me. And a day or so later, a friend came with vegetables from her garden. Another friend paid me for some work I had done a while back. And along the way, other resources opened up and I was able to complete my college education and then graduate work.
What’s interesting about the loaves and fishes story is that later, it comes to Jesus’ attention that some people were following him because they were hoping to get more of the free food. He rebukes this and cautions, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (5) Again, I took this to mean that we shouldn’t try to use God to get things. But God will always provide for us and sustain our well being if we sincerely follow Him.
Valerie Minard writes regularly on the connection between consciousness, spirituality, and health. She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in New Jersey. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @valerieminard.
- Bible: Colossians 3: 2
- Bible: Matthew 6: 31-33
- Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494
- Bible: Mark 8
- Bible: John 6: 26,27