How to Pray When Facing Financial Challenges

financial health prayer

Sooner or later, we all face financial challenges. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and we’re not ready to hit it, and sometimes our poor financial decisions come back to haunt us at the worst time. If you’re worried about your finances, you aren’t alone. According to a recent survey from Capital One and the Decision Lab, more than three-fourths of Americans wrestle with anxiety over their financial situation.

God offers His children the privilege of prayer as a substitute for worry. As Paul told the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). But how should we pray about financial challenges, especially when we bring some of those challenges on ourselves? Here are three tips on praying through financial obstacles.

Pray with a Focus on God’s Sovereign Provision (Matthew 6:25-34).

God knows your needs before you ever approach Him in prayer, so pray confidently! He is more than able to meet your needs. In a society paralyzed by anxiety, much of it rooted in financial difficulty, God challenges His people to trade their trepidation for trust.

Jesus addressed anxiety during the Sermon on the Mount. He covered topics including our grocery budget (Mt. 6:26) and our clothing budget (Mt. 6:28-30). While those needs are important, trusting God is infinitely more so. Jesus calls His people to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first, not our daily needs. With that perspective, everything else will fall into place.

My mom is a fantastic prayer warrior. Anytime I share a need with her, her immediate response is, “Well, have you prayed about it?” I’ll admit that I don’t always enjoy that question. I’m usually better at worrying than praying. I try to tell her that I’m not worrying. I say I’m just “intensely curious.” But the excuse works with Mom about like it works with the Lord. It doesn’t. Jesus’s powerful counsel In Matthew 6 is more than a mere suggestion. The command, “do not be anxious,” appears three times in this passage, so Jesus is serious about calling us to trust in God’s sovereign provision.

Pray with Humble Honesty, and Repent if Necessary (Psalm 51:1-4).

Sometimes we bring financial struggles on ourselves. We act unwisely with the resources God has entrusted to us, and the results are disastrous. God calls His children to steward His resources wisely, but we sometimes make a mess of our responsibility. We may face financial pressure because of sinful or unwise choices, so our prayers should include humility, contrition, and repentance.

King David understood that sin causes pain and addressed that pain in Psalm 51. There, David poured out his heart to God after Nathan confronted him for his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 and 12). The king of Israel bore his soul before the Lord. He took personal responsibility for offending his Creator. He needed soul cleansing before he could begin trying to repair the damage his choices had caused.

Like all other sin, financial sins hinder our walk with God. Confession cleanses our soul so that we can align our hearts with the will of God. While we probably won’t enjoy immediate relief from the financial mess, we will experience immediate joy in knowing that our fellowship with God (and the joy of our salvation) has been restored.

Ultimately, your walk with God is far more important than your net worth. If your financial challenges are self-inflicted because of selfish priorities, then honest confession of sin can bring peace and mental clarity. The blessing of a restored walk with God will help you focus on tackling your challenges in a way that honors your King.

Pray with Persistent Faith Because God Always Acts Justly (Luke 18:1-8).

Kids are experts at persistence. They ask the same question, repeatedly, until they either get their way or cause major problems. Trust me, I teach high school social studies! Students make bathroom requests, ask to see the nurse, and remember that they forgot their textbook (or, more likely, their phone). The requests never end, which is why my beard is turning grey!

In Luke 18, Jesus provided a striking example of persistence. He told the story of a widow in desperate need of justice. The problem was that the judge she faced was unjust. Scripture says that he, “neither feared God not respected man” (Lk. 18:2). What a horrible person to put in charge of justice! Repeatedly, the woman begged the judge to do the right thing, and eventually, she wore him down and got what she needed.

We need to be careful with this parable. Jesus doesn’t want us to irritate God until we get our way. Remember that God is a righteous judge who always acts righteously! Rather, Jesus uses a teaching technique called Qal va-homer (literally, “light and heavy”). The technique is an argument from the lesser to the greater. If the unjust judge rewards persistence, how much more will our righteous God give justice to his children when we persevere in prayer?

God always does what is right (Gen. 18:25). As we face financial challenges, we can pray with boldness, with confidence, with persistence, and with peace, because we know that God always does what is right.

So pray with a focus on Gods sovereign provision. He will take care of His children. Pray with humble honesty and repent of any selfishness that might have caused your financial crisis. Finally, pray with persistent faith because God always acts justly!

About the author: Matthew Collier has spent two decades as a bi-vocational pastor and high school social studies teacher in northeast Arkansas. He and his wife Jennifer have three kids: Walter, Abigail, and Benjamin. He is a second-year Doctor of Ministry student at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, TN. His passions are spending time with family, preaching and teaching, coin collecting, and following the Atlanta Braves and Arkansas Razorbacks.