Question: I am a poor man and I am praying to God to be rich, but He doesn’t answer my prayer. Why?
Answer: I am sorry to hear that you are struggling financially. The Bible never teaches that it is a good thing to be poor, and I believe God takes no pleasure in this. (Although God does call being “poor in spirit” blessed (Matthew 5:3), I take this to mean humility before the Lord, not financial need.)
I’d like to answer your question in two parts. First, I’d like to share the good news that God wants to give you much more than money, if only you would let Him. And, second, I’d like to share God’s warning about the dangers of wanting to get rich.
God Wants to Give You More than Money
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
Let’s consider what God is saying to us, phrase by phrase…
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…
Grace is when you receive something that you don’t deserve. Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to give something to you—grace. God’s law tells us what God requires of us. But none of us has kept His law. We deserve punishment, but God sent His Son first, so that we might choose grace instead.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich…
Jesus is not simply a good man. He came to us from God. Before He came to us, He was in heaven at the right hand of God the Father. He was Lord of all. He was worshiped by the angels. And He left this all behind when He came to us. That’s what this verse means when it says He was rich.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor…
What does God mean when He tells us that Jesus became poor? Jesus took on human flesh. He became a man, though He is equal with God. He did this for you and me. He became obedient to God the Father, even to the point of death, by dying on a cross. He did this to pay for our sins. He was our substitute on the cross. He was paying for our sins, not His own. Jesus did all this for us!
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Jesus did all this, not so that He could fill our pocket with money. He did this to bring us near to God, so that He could fill our hearts with love. He did this so that we could become sons and daughters of God. He did this so that we could be with God forever in heaven—that’s what the Bible calls eternal life.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, so that you and I could be forgiven, be adopted as sons, and have a future in heaven with God that goes on forever. According to God’s accounting, eternal life is worth more than if God gave us all the riches this world has to offer. And God offers all this freely to us.
All you need to do to receive this gift is to turn from your sins and embrace Jesus as your Savior and Lord. As you do, He will fill you with His presence—the Holy Spirit. In order to grow in your new faith, begin reading the Bible, and find a church, where you can worship with other believers.
God’s Gracious Warning
God warns us about the dangers of wanting to get rich.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:8-10
It is important to remember that “poor” is a relative term. People sometimes consider themselves poor, even though they have food and clothing, because they are comparing themselves to others who have more. But those who want to get rich are more likely to fall prey to certain temptations, with painful consequences. The love of money (no matter how little or how much you have) can destroy your life. And so, God instructs us to pursue contentment, and reject the love of money.
A Prayer for Contentment in God
Here is a prayer that I have found helpful and I frequently pray it when I am lacking contentment with what I have:
Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8-9
I’m praying that this will be helpful to you as you seek the Lord,