Praying for Income
Perhaps it seems strange to include prayer as an income “strategy.”
Strange because nowhere in God’s word are we told we will receive monetary blessing beyond basic need if we pray for it. In fact, those closest to Jesus often suffered good doses of poverty and persecution. Our Savior, himself born in a barn and itinerant as an adult, often encouraged his followers to leave their worldly goods behind in pursuit of Him. Today his most ardent followers continue to suffer not in spite of their faith, but because of it.
Thus while it can’t hurt to pray for college income directly, don’t be surprised if these prayers remain unanswered or if God has other plans for you outside of the norm. Also, don’t be surprised that when the prayer does get answered positively, you see it fulfilled in ways other than a pile of hard cash on your doorstep. I prayed often about monetary concerns in college and each time I did God brought along work. While grateful all the same, I definitely didn’t have a Saturday of raking leaves in mind when pleading toward heaven about my dwindling bank balances.
Overall, then, let me encourage you to put your prayers for direct money on hold while you firstly pray for other, ultimately better blessings. To begin on the right foot and live a life free of regret, let me encourage you to seek alignment with your Holy Father through what he promises in prayer.
With the college decision in mind, each student should pray for at least the following three items, each of which has a promise of fulfillment in scripture and each of which will impact the way you approach your financial decisions.
Prayer Promise 1: His Will Be Done
Firstly, let us pray as Jesus directly instructed us to in Matthew 6:9-13, which reads in part: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…”
Notice Jesus considers the provision of even the most basic worldly goods secondary to the doing of God’s will on earth. I highlight this firstly because I’m incredibly convinced that if God wants you somewhere He will provide the resources to get you there. Thus, in consideration of college, it is most important to firstly ask God if He wants you there. If more school is according to His purpose then He will provide a way. When God wanted the 5,000 souls on the hillside to hear Jesus’ teachings He answered the prayer to multiply a little boy’s meager lunch into enough to feed the rest and then some.
If, on the other hand, you go to college against His will, then no amount of scheming for more money will make this right anyway. So before you potentially waste your time trying to “afford” college, stop and make sure any further effort to that end is appropriate.
Prayer Promise 2: The Holy Spirit
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13).
Here Jesus promises us the filling of the Holy Spirit if we ask for it. Paul likewise exhorts us to do just this, most notably in Ephesians (3:14-21, 5:18-21).
This is of great benefit. When the Holy Spirit moves in He dispenses any number of gifts as He sees fit, including leadership, administration, discernment, wisdom and knowledge, among others (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4). When the Spirit fills us, we also produce fruit; namely, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Eph 5:22-23).These are to be used primarily for the edification of the church, but obviously a person who has them will apply them to all areas of life.
We all should pray for the Spirit because we are all commanded to. As a bonus, when full of the Spirit we are blessed, and these blessings have an impact on our life at large. Many of these spiritual blessings, particularly those mentioned above, affect decision-making. Decision-making often then impacts our ability to handle or even make money. Therefore, when concerned about life in general and college in particular, we would be woefully remiss if we didn’t ask for what God has offered us in the way of a personal indwelling.
Prayer Promise 3: Wisdom
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5).
Here again we have another promise of answered prayer to those who take the time. While I have done my best to give you some general wisdom regarding your college decision, you will need much more than I can offer as you go to and through college. Good thing God offers it in spades.
If finances concern you, this heaven-sent wisdom will assuredly help. It just so happens that when Solomon asked for and received wisdom, much of this godly insight concerned finances as evidenced by his writings in the books we now call Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
Again, will praying for those things we are told to pray for necessarily mean we end up wealthier for it? By no means. However, I do believe God always works out His will for us, equips us with the Holy Spirit (along with the accompanying fruits and gifts), and provides us wisdom in response to prayers.
So here’s my prayer for you: If you are not meant to go to college, I pray he makes this will known and provides you the wisdom and strength to make other choices. If you are meant to, I pray He will see you through. And let us all give thanks as He does His work.