Praying to Win the Lottery
Is it wrong to pray for money and wealth? Not when you see all the good you can do with it!
Look at this awesome promise that Jesus made before He was arrested and crucified:
Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see — these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. John 14: 11–14
What do you think about that? Jesus said that we will do greater things than He did, and that He will give us whatever we ask in His name! I think that’s awesome!
But even in the world of believers, there’s a lot of skepticism about this promise. We’ll receive anything we pray for? Really?
I’ve seen people roll their eyes. They’ll say, “Oh really. You’re telling me that if I pray, ‘God, I want a Mercedes Benz,’ then all I have to do is believe, and I’ll get it?” Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?”
These are good questions! But they don’t take the whole of Jesus’s promise into account. He didn’t say, “Believe in me and I’ll give you everything you ask for.” No. He said, “I’m giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. So whatever you ask for along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it.”
So the question is a little different than, “will God give me a Mercedes,” or “will God give me the winning lottery ticket.” The real question is, “Why do you ask for cars and money?”
Why? That word stands in advance of every prayer.
I believe it is God’s will to prosper you, but prosperity doesn’t always mean money or property. God can prosper you with a healthy family, or with peace at your job. There are so many ways that God can prosper you! In the end, though, they all have one thing in common. It’s an issue of the heart.
God looks at the heart of all people. Men and women alike, He looks at your heart. If you sit there and say, “God, I pray for a million dollars,” I’m going to guess that the first thing God’s going to ask is why you want a million dollars. If you want a million dollars so that you can be rich, then I don’t know if He’s going to prosper you in that way.
Jesus promises to answer your prayer and give you what you ask for because “that’s how the Father will be seen for who He is in the Son.” That’s the context of the promise. God will give you what you ask for because you are doing His will.
I pray for finances. I really do. I pray for them, and I believe I’m going to get them. I can’t necessarily tell you why God grants my prayers, but I can tell you the reason in my heart for wanting finances. It’s simple. I can see all the good that I can do with them.
I can feed the hungry and respond to crises like earthquakes and drought. These things cause famine. I can help create safe and sustainable water supplies for villages who have been in poor health because of contaminated water. I can help orphans, the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, to thrive in loving communities. I can help protect men, women, and children from falling into the hands of slavers, and I can help restore them to life when they have been rescues. I pray for finances because I want really want to serve the least among us. That is serving Jesus!
I think God looks at your heart when it comes to everything. If your prayer is birthed in sin, it will never happen. Why would it? God answers prayers that are birthed in hope. He listens to your heart and wants to hear your hope of bringing His grace and power into the world, in faith. God answers prayers that are birthed in the desire to empower people to believe in Him and love Him. So if that’s your reason for asking, then yes, I fully believe that you’re going to get what you pray for.
In other words, if you’re going to do God’s will when you win the lottery, then pray for that, with all your heart!
I am the author of To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball (2013), and my second book is in the works. Visit my Huffington Post page here. I blog here. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @JeremyAffeldt.