“Dear God, please make me rich”
What's the problem with praying for material wealth?
Many people think God is kind of like Santa Claus, or a big genie in the sky. We can ask him for things and he’ll give them to us if we’re good enough. Because of this view, lots of people pray that God will make them rich.
But that’s not what prayer is for!
Praying is part of expressing our dependence on God for all things! It’s one of the blessings we can have in a relationship with God - to be invited to talk to him in prayer and ask him for things, and to know that he cares about us and listens to us. It’s even greater to know that he answers our prayers according to HIS good purposes, because sometimes the things we ask for aren’t even what’s best for us.
Prayer is more than just asking God for things though. It’s part of a relationship with God, where we do more than treat him like a slot machine and try to get what we want out of him – we wouldn’t be impressed if that was how our friends treated us! We’re also invited to praise God for who he is, thank him for what he’s done for us and the world, say sorry for the things we’ve done that upset him and ask for his help to change (repent).
How should we pray?
While we are told to ask God about anything big or small (Philippians 4:4-7), and there are no ‘wrong’ prayers in this sense, we do have a model in the Bible of some godly prayers as we look at the prayers of Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13) and people like Paul (Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-19, Colossians 1:9-14, Philippians 1:3-11).
It can be helpful to learn from these prayers, and from our reading of the Bible generally, about God’s priorities and concerns, and to pray in a way that’s shaped by them rather than just the things we think of most often.
What should we ask for?
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said they should ask God for their 'daily bread' (Matthew 6:9-13). Do you notice he didn't say to pray for an entire bakery? Just enough to get by each day.
In the Bible God warns against the dangers of wealth in leading us to trust in ourselves and things in the world instead of God (1 Timothy 6:6-10, Mark 10:23-31).
We’re also encouraged to thank God for the things we have now and to be content rather than seeking after other things continually.
Be assured that God knows what you need before you even ask it, and he is committed to your best interests even when it might not seem like it at the time.
Ultimately he most wants for you to know, love and trust him, and these are good things to keeping praying for help in at any age or time in your life.
Edited from a Q&A written by christianity.net.au