Prayer is salient and unavoidable in the life of God’s children. It is no wonder questions on prayer have been asked severally, especially about praying about material things.
People often say we should not pray for material thing. And this leads to the question, “What is wrong with praying for material things?”
Before attempting to answer the question, let’s define the word “material things”. What do we mean by material things? They are simply physical/earthly things that we desire. For example, houses, cars, money, perfect physique, food, etc.
What is wrong with praying for material things?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for material things. Jesus prayed and fed thousands of men, and turned water into wine. Yet, we need to realize that it’s not about whether we should pray for material things or not. It’s about putting God first. How so?
In Genesis chapter 1, we see that God created food and every necessary resource, before He created Adam, and then placed Adam in the garden to tend and keep it . So before Adam existed, he already had a steady supply of food and a job he didn’t need to apply for. That was cool, right?We need to realize that it's not about whether we should pray for material things or not. It's about putting God first. Click To Tweet
In Matthew 15:32- 39, Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have had nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Did that get to you? Jesus didn’t wait for the people to complain or ask for food, but rather, he thought of them and manifested the proactive nature of God.
It is important to take note of the following;
- God provided even before Adam knew he would need anything.
- Jesus fed the five thousand before they asked Him for food.
Another notable scripture is Matthew 6:26. After Jesus explained to us that we cannot serve God and money, He took us on a brief journey, telling us why we need not worry about what we would eat, drink or wear, and His reason was simple: The birds of the air neither sow, nor store away in barns, yet they are fed by our Heavenly Father.
The flowers of the field grow, yet they neither labour nor spin. And then He asks “are you not much more valuable than them?”
Jesus simply showed us why we should be bothered about food, clothes or our basic survival needs. Because we are so valuable to God, He’s got us covered.
One would think that Jesus’ conclusion was that with this knowledge, we should pray for our needs because God would always attend to us. But He says something different in verse 33, He says “THEREFORE, seek the kingdom of God FIRST”.
The word “therefore” in this context means that as a result of what Jesus said in verse 28 of Mathew 6, He showed us how valuable we are to God which is the reason He would definitely attend to our needs, we should seek the kingdom of God first, and “first” means the kingdom should be our priority, then any other thing can follow.
So Jesus taught thus:
- God caters for your needs, even before you think about praying.
- Let the kingdom be your priority, not your material needs.
Nevertheless, while there is nothing wrong with praying for material things,
we must understand that even though we are to seek the kingdom of God first, we do not seek the kingdom to obtain our personal needs, or even to spur God to provide them. We do so just because it is our priority as believers and we have been commanded to do this.
What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God?
The Message translation says: Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out and You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
The God-reality is eternal life. To live with God, worshipping Him forever. The God initiative is salvation (Romans 8:30), and His utmost provision was offering His Son, the only perfect propitiation for our sin (1 John 2:1-2).Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out and You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Click To Tweet
Can you see the line of thought? To seek these things is to first meditate on them as the greek word for “seek” translates. What better way to meditate on a thing than to pray about it? Prayer focuses our minds on God, so pray to the kingdom. Pray His will. This is our priority.
A few prayer tips which focus on the kingdom of God
1. Boldness to preach the gospel of Christ
Understand that we could have gone straight to heaven the moment we got saved. But as Jesus commissioned the disciples to make other disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, that commission extends to us as well. We have one ministry, and that is the ministry of reconciling all men to God. This is why we are here, this is our purpose on earth. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
The word of God is the only thing that can produce faith in Christ Jesus. If they do not hear the word, then how can they believe unto salvation? Romans 10:14&17. If we want men to be saved, then we must preach.
2. Pray that the word of God spreads rapidly
As the word is being preached we must equally concern ourselves with how effectively it spreads. Pray that multitudes would be added to the Lord, (Acts 5:14) and that the glory of the word would be recognized everywhere.
3. Pray for the restoration of the brethren
Jesus told Peter that the devil sought to sift him as wheat, but he had prayed that his faith would not fail. He further said “when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren. ” (Luke 22:31-32)The word of God is the only thing that can produce faith in Christ Jesus. If they do not hear the word, then how can they believe unto salvation? Romans 10:14&17. If we want men to be saved, then we must preach. Click To Tweet
The Bible in Galatians 6:1 says we should restore any brethren who have been overtaken in any trespass. We have a responsibility to stir and encourage each other. A good way is to pray for the faith and restoration of our brethren.
4. Pray for missionaries and those in hostile locations
Our brethren who are on the field in villages and other places preaching the word of God need our prayers.
Those in hostile places also need our prayers. For example, Christians in Northern Nigeria have been under attack, and there have been a good number of recorded deaths. Please pray for them. Please. (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
5. Pray Jesus’ John 17 prayer
Let us take a look at some of them:
Verse 21, that all believers would be one, as Jesus and the Father are one. That we would live in unity with each other in our actions and speech.
Verse 13, that the joy of the Lord would be fulfilled in us. Joy that is not determined by earthly things, but by someone who remains consistent – Jesus.
The prayers are definitely inexhaustible, but these can be a start.Those in hostile places also need our prayers. For example, Christians in Northern Nigeria have been under attack, and there have been a good number of recorded deaths. Please pray for them. Please. Click To Tweet
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with wanting and praying for material things, but our priority is the expansion and the glory of the kingdom of our Lord.
If you have other questions on prayer, you can read ” Tips For Praying Long: 6 To Take Note of Today” or “Alternatives to Prayer When You Don’t Feel Like Praying“.
Written by: Ndakara Kewve