John Piper | – Is It Sinful to Pray for a Larger Income? // Ask Pastor John

When God restored Job’s fortunes, he also doubled his wealth. Should Christians pray for God to do the same for us today?

Today we talk about personal wealth. It’s rather interesting that at the beginning of the book of Job, Job is a wealthy man. At the end of the book of Job, Job is a wealthy man times two. So, is it right to expect God to intend to double the wealth of all his children? That’s a question prompted by Job and sent to us by a listener.

“Pastor John, hello! My name is Genesis. I’m 23 years old and live in the Philippines. I do not believe prosperity preachers, who claim God wants all Christians to be very wealthy. However, is it a sin to pray for God to give me enough money to enjoy a comfortable life? Or are we Christians meant to embrace and welcome only loss and suffering? Is there any place for praying for, and seeking out, greater degrees of material comfort? Is this only dangerous? Is there a safe way to pray that our modest net worth double over time? As I read Scripture, I see that God intended to double Job’s wealth in the end (Job 42:10–17). Was that only for Job, or does God welcome Christians to pray to this end today?”

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Comment (45)

  1. I agree strongly with John Piper that the doubling of Job's wealth shouldn't be used as a model for what Christians should expect.
    Job was written in Old Covenant times, but we are living in the era of the New Covenant, so we can't expect the Old Testament to closely fit what we should expect.
    And, as Piper notes, the New Testament is crammed full of passages that urge us to live a materially simple lifestyle.

  2. John Piper:
    'The aim of the Christian is not to suffer, but to love, and accept whatever suffering that requires.'

    Very well put. Suffering is not good in and of itself. It's just that sometimes it's necessary. All other things being equal, we should want and hope not to suffer. However, in this world, all other things are not always equal.

  3. Malachi 3:10 – 12
    "10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
    11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
    12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."

    These blessings God promises when we give & that
    He will give back to us confirm the message of prosperity found in His word. These blessings of repay when we give ARE NOT referring to the blessings stored up in heaven, exactly the contrary in fact. They are being poured out from the very windows of heaven to us while we are on the earth.
    God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth. Jesus reconciled all of that back to us, so the wealth of the earth is ours to claim as well as the treasures stored up in the kingdom of heaven. God does not want his children while they are on the earth to be in poverty. Let this message from the very word of God sink into your mind, soul, heart, and spirit. Prosperity is of God. PERIOD.

  4. "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

    Jesus is coming, he is willing to accept anyone who believes in him. He loved you so much he prove it on the cross. Please repent and love others just as Jesus has loved you. God bless you all!Have a wonderful day.

  5. 10 shirts in my wardrobe is not opulence or love of material things that are passing away or greed. It is one essential shirt a day, for two work weeks, enabling me to be frugal with my time by having to do laundry only once every two weeks. No one should just a person's heart by the things either he HAS or DOESN'T HAVE. It's not what goes into a man (in in the case of clothing, ON a man) that corrupts him, but the things that come out of his heart.

  6. One issue that never gets talked about in this context in Evangelical circles is the issue of Housing. In some parts of the world (London, Tokyo, Sam Francisco), the cost of Housing is eye watering and this means that you actually have to earn quite a high salary to have any sort of roof over your head – whether renting or buying. Then there’’s the issue as to whether renting is good stewardship of God’s resources. But buying requires even higher income – and stability of earnings. I absolutely get that if you’re on a good wage and live in the West, you shouldn’t be asking for more. But I do think that raises questions for some people in some places, Do we look to relocate from those place? But what happens to the gospel ministry there? Or to family obligations? Do both parents work full time? That’s disapproved of elsewhere. This is a really important issue for many Christians.

  7. Summer is here again with the restriction of movement and recess to be enjoyed by most workers. It's an opportunity to utilize and redirect this funds into life changing investments as to secure financial sustainability!!!!

  8. The answer to the first question didn’t suffice for me. It didn’t seem guided by the Bible. Why would God choose who to “double” based on their current income or status? He didn’t do this with Job. Job already had way more than 99% of people at the time and He still doubled it. I don’t believe we should pray earnestly if we are already wealthy for more wealth, clearly. But I do believe if we continue to give and love others, God might continue to give to us if it is in His will. If God doubles an honest, humble, God serving wealthy man’s income, then many times it can be extremely beneficial to His kingdom if that man knows this is God’s income. If that man prays for more, so He can continue to give, I don’t believe this is wrong, as the man isn’t after his own righteousness.

    I don’t think we can say, “it may be perfectly right for a poor person to pray this, but not a wealthy person.” The wealthy person might have been given wealth by God because God knows it won’t affect their humility towards Him and they are faithful. I think it is fine for this person to pray for more, as they will continue to use it for God. If a poor person prays for more, and God knows it will change their heart, it seems to me that this would be wrongful to pray as this person.

  9. Hello I’m Elias and I’m 16. I am totally lost and confused about how to be saved. So in the Bible all God calls is to do is repent and trust in His Son Jesus Christ, but whenever I talk to anyone or research how to be saved, they say to pray a prayer of salvation
    asking Jesus into your heart. Not once in the Bible it says that, but I steel feel like I need to pray a prayer of salvation to be saved. I have prayed so many prayers of salvation in the past year or year and a half. And today I fell totally defeated and lost, I don’t understand. Please pray for me, that God would reveal the truth to me because I’m tired of listening to lies.

  10. Is this the same John Piper who was widely panned for his blatant lies about President Trump? The same guy who said Trump’s arrogance was more dangerous than abortion? Is it the same coward who has suddenly gone politically silent? And could it be the same guy who still maintains he’s prolife? Alas, it is.

  11. I came to know very well known Bible teachers like John Macarthur who emphasize the Bible and living by the Bible own 3 mansions with a tennis court and a swimming pool. Is this wrong? Would you say this is not living biblically? Or is this ok for Christians to pursue this kind of lifestyle?

  12. Wow, this is eye opening. I was considering incorporating flagellation into my prayers but I suppose suffering isn’t exactly the end goal to our faith. This really spoke to me. Thanks Pastor John.

  13. If our successes advance His Kingdom, then let it be so. If our empty hands glorify God, then so be it. We pray for our daily bread, and the Lord has provided us with what we need, not what we desire – that is enough.

    …. 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. (Proverb 30: 8-9)

    If you prayed for more, then (if the LORD grants it) He will ask from you more. We are His stewards.

  14. Superb answer. Very helpful to me.

    I think it's clear from what he said that anyone who wishes to pray that God will enlarge their wealth so that they can pass it on to others is praying a perfectly righteous prayer. The most important principle that I heard was "come see, go tell". There are people who God uses to bring in huge amounts of money for the kingdom – who contribute disproportionately enormous funds. It hasn't been me but I have great appreciation for these people. They often have very clear vision – as they work they see one more hospital bed or one more church planted. But even when we earn money with the intention of sharing the vast proportion of it with others we still have to be careful not to become materialistic in our thinking – God may use our funds but he does not need our funds – he is not bankrupt. If God's intention was for the church to own the world money would be his primary tool – but his intention instead is that we be conformed to his likeness and see him glorified in that. We therefore must not misunderstand what is most important about our ministry – even a person who spends their day in the financial world and makes huge money needs to recognise that their primary ministry is the relationships they have directly with people – even if that's only with the person they buy lunch from.  The kingdom does not work according to the same monetary principles as the world.

    We also need to have a right understanding about work – I have a radical principle in this area which doesn't seem to be widely shared – that we should see ourselves as Christians as not having the ability to earn God's provision in the same way that we are not able to earn his forgiveness. The biblical principle when it comes to money and family isn't that we are obligated to earn money for one's family but to share what God has given us with family and not to be lazy in our service of God. The question we should be asking God is "what do you want me to do?" whether or not the answer is a job with a salary – instead of "where do you want me to earn?" When God tells us to do something which doesn't have an associated income his implied promise is that he will provide for us via another means.

  15. This comment isn't for people who don't like to read. I apologize for making this so long, one thought led to another and so on. Sorry about that.
    There are three main sources of religious energy which are the Holy Spirit, kingdom of darkness religious spirits, and human soul power. During times of no outpouring of the Holy Spirit (as in this day and time) it is extremely rare and difficult to find someone speaking by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but it is commonplace for religious people to have the anointing of a religious spirit, and/or to run on soul power.

    The religious spirits are the highest echelon of warrior demons in the kingdom of darkness hierarchy who are carefully groomed by kingdom of darkness overlords (aka fallen angels/principalities) to know how to mimic the Holy Spirit. Religious spirits and religious soul power seek to mimic the Holy Spirit, and sometimes they can be very convincing with their 'Do-Gooder' persona, their sanctimonious posture of perfection, their mock authority, and their busy 'good works' agendas. The ploy has mostly to do with manipulation and control of the humans who allow themselves to be used by religious spirits as human mouthpieces, and manipulation and control of their followers (especially that).

    Sometimes soul power can be a good thing, as in construction trades, mechanical trades, sports, music, art, chess, math, science, engineering, higher learning, anything that requires special talent and ability. But religious soul power is pretty much always exploited by kingdom of darkness religious spirits, the reason being that the Lord requires for Christians to wait for him to give them the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and if he doesn't give it to them, for them to do nothing ministry-wise until he does. But if they go ahead anyway and launch out in presumption and start relying on soul power, they give automatic rights to the kingdom of darkness overlords to lade them with a religious spirit, which is what is going on with practically all of these YouTube religionists who are being driven by the religious spirits operating through them to be obsessed to post their spiritually worthless videos.

    One thing these YouTube religionists fail to consider is that because they refused to wait on the Lord to give them the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but went ahead doing their own thing in his name anyway, that when the end-time outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes they'll be left out of it because they have their reward now with their fifteen minutes of fame. That's exactly what happened to the televangelists and the system church priestclass who emulated them (so-called 'pastors') during the mid-90's outpouring of the Holy Spirit (what became known as "The Toronto Outpouring of the Holy Spirit" that lasted from 1991 – 1996). Then when they realized that they were left out of it they got jealous and bitter and vilified it, with many of them blaspheming the Holy Spirit by saying the outpouring was "Of the devil."

    YouTube was actually concocted by the kingdom of darkness overlords as a forum for religious spirits to manifest through human mouthpieces for the purpose of making a parody of prophetic ministry (and of Christianity in general), and for the purpose of controlling millions of Christians, and it is working famously well for them. In their esteem, everything else on YouTube is just worldly fluff, but which is useful to them because it helps to legitimize YouTube, which is very important to them as the YouTube false teachers and false prophets are their primary voice to the world now, along with the system church priestclass (i.e. so-called 'pastors' and other assorted ministers) who emulate them.

    The kingdom of darkness' highest priority agenda is to use YouTube to acclimate Christians to false prophetic ministry, because they know that during times of no outpouring of the Holy Spirit (as in this day and time) that the Lord keeps the true prophets hidden, and that when the end-time outpouring of the Holy Spirit arrives (which I think is going to be fairly soon) he will bring them out of hiding and anoint them with Holy Spirit power. That is exactly what happened during the mid-90's outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And the kingdom of darkness overlords remember it, so it is of utmost importance to them to acclimate Christians to false prophetic ministry now so that when the end-time outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes they won't be able to relate to it, and they'll distrust the Lord's prophets, and will be afraid of them, and will call them false prophets, especially when they hear their messages which will be so totally opposite of the sweetsie-sweet and nicie-nice 'prophecies' they've been being weaned on for years and years, most of which major on the elementary principles of Christianity which the Holy Spirit said not to be doing (see Hebrews 6:1-3 in the King James Version).

    As a side note, religious soul power sometimes drifts over into witchcraft which is also always exploited by religious spirits. Psychic phenomenon can be a form of witchcraft (alsoTarot cards, 'law of attraction,' palm reading, numerology, mind over matter phenomenon, etc.). Simon Magus of Acts 8:9-24 is an example of that. There are many so-called 'pastors' and other ministers who employ witchcraft control to compensate for their own spiritual powerlessness. Many music ministers and worship teams rely on witchcraft spirits and witchcraft methods to empower them. It's a lot more commonplace than most Christians would ever think.

    The story about the Philippian girl of Acts chapter 16 (beginning with verse 16) is an example of how a religious spirit manifests through a human mouthpiece, as in what is going on with these YouTube religionists (i.e. teachers, so-called 'prophets,' and other assorted self-appointed 'Do-Gooders' who are doing their own thing in the Lord's name, some of whom are making a lot of money doing it). Bear in mind that everything the Philippian girl said was 100% correct, and was 100% the truth. But bear in mind also that it was a religious spirit speaking through her, the same as what is going on with these YouTube religionists.

    As another side note, politics is actually a lot of people's religion, and politicians and their followers are often targeted by religious spirits. There are a lot of spiritually defunct false teachers and false prophets who have no anointing of the Holy Spirit whatsoever whose credibility is dependent on their ranting about politics (YouTube is awash with them). Since they have nothing of spiritual value to say, if they didn't rant about politics, nobody would pay much attention to anything they have to say.

    In Mark 8:15 the Lord told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod. As I understand it, the leaven of the Pharisees has to do with soul power religion that is devoid of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the leaven of Herod has to do with politics, both of which have all to do with control (kingdom of darkness control). In Ephesians 6:12 in the King James Version the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul revealed that the fallen angels run the world system (which is why the world is so messed up). In that verse Paul referred to the fallen angels as 'principalities.' It is they who handpick the politicians and world leaders and the elitists who control them, as this verse infers (also Luke 4:6 in the King James Version).

    As another side note, whenever someone gives rights to the kingdom of darkness overlords to lade them with a religious spirit, they will also lade them with a deaf, dumb, and blind spirit (per Psalm 115:5-8 in the King James Version), after which they will be unable to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to them, they will be unable to speak by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and they will be unable to receive spiritual truth (they will have no spiritual discernment). Very often the way someone gives those rights is by making an idol of some religious teacher or 'prophet.'

    Back during the mid-90's outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit spoke the following prophecy through several Christian prophets in the US and Canada which was this:

    "When this outpouring ends the enemy is poised to retaliate against the outpouring with the biggest onslaught of religious activity in the history of the Lord's church."

    That was about ten years before YouTube was invented. At the time the prophecy was given nobody was able to envision what it was the Lord was talking about. Now we know.

    I always try to remember to advise Christians to start praying and asking the Lord to give them the gift of discerning of spirits (the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul made mention of the gift of discerning of spirits in 1 Corinthians 12:10 in the King James Version), because if ever there was a time in human history when the gift of discerning of spirits was needed, it is now, especially these days when there are so many people falling for the YouTube false teachers and false prophets.

    I also always try to remember to advise Christians to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, because speaking in tongues is like a super-weapon against the kingdom of darkness, particularly against their daily attempts at harassment and oppression.

    I also always try to remember to advise Christians to never watch religious YouTube videos, for obvious reasons (obvious to me at least), and to spend the time they'd spend doing that seeking to develop a living relationship with the Holy Spirit in the quiet at home. (per Isaiah 30:15, Psalm 46:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, and Hebrews 4:11 all in the King James Version).

    If you decide to look up the accounts of Simon Magus and the Philippian girl, I suggest that you read those sections of scripture in the King James Version.

  16. I noticed in the O.T God was blessing his people in material things like Abraham, Job, Solomon etc just like Piper said, but in the N.T it is a blessing of Spiritual things, He gives us enough to sustain us (Matthew 6, Acts2-3, Philippians 4 etc) and I believe by this He is saving us from idolatry and heartbreak that comes with wealth 1 Timothy 6

  17. Thank you, Pastor John. I am currently a student at NTU Singapore, and this video came out on the same day that my grades came out. I too was curious about whether it is wrong to pray for good grades, and perhaps, there are some parallelism.

  18. I think one common mistake, which is extra prevalent in secular thinking (where selfishness is the core foundation of all rationality), is to think that goodness means self-sacrifice. It is not. If that were true, suicide would be the greatest good. Self-sacrifice is sometimes a prerequisite to achieve an actual good, but it is not itself a good thing. Self-sacrifice is something to be accepted, not something to pursue.

  19. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – that was Paul saying he could live on an income whether large or small.

    It is used out of context more than maybe any verse in the Bible.