It was January 2013—and we had that fresh budget sitting in front of us. We were excited and hopeful, but unsure.
We were ready to kiss our debt goodbye and had an ambitious timeline in mind to pay off all our debt besides our home in less than a year.
We solidified our budgeted numbers in each category with a bit of doubt as to whether it was even remotely possible to say within those small dollar amounts. (We did increase our spending in one area, though—giving. It just felt right; we didn’t want to skimp on God even though we were skimping everywhere else.)
With a fresh budget spreadsheet in place, we prayed about it. Like I said, I’m not even sure why the idea of praying about finances came to mind. Clearly it was the Holy Spirit’s nudging.
I mean, a lot of us Christians have been raised to pray for the classic things like safe travel, a grandparent’s surgery, a new baby, or a job interview, right? But money? We were pretty newly-married, and although we were both Christian, we hadn’t developed a very strong faith life as a couple up to that point. Praying about finances was just not something I think we’d ever even thought of before.
So what did we pray? We prayed that God would bless our efforts, that he would display his glory through us, and that he would help us become better stewards. We wanted to take better care of the gifts he had entrusted us with so we could bless others.
If you’re someone who’s prayed before, you know that God doesn’t always answer prayer as blatantly as we’d like. In our case, though, he seemed to answer our prayers with a bold, clear yes.
Can I share with you some of the amazing ways God worked, to praise him for his goodness and to encourage you that praying about finances is worthwhile? Okay, thanks. :)
Remember how I said we had an ambitious timeline for paying off our debt? Well, actually, our goal was more than ambitious. We wanted to pay off $30,000 of debt by the end of the year, a feat we thought was almost impossible given our earnings and the fact that we owned a home.
It was kind of one of those “Reach for the moon and hope to land among the stars” kind of goals. Set a goal to pay off our debt in a year, and hopefully we’d make it by 18 months or so.
God far exceeded our expectations. Our debt was paid off by August—eight months from when we set the goal.
Over the course of that year, time after time we experienced circumstances that seemed beyond coincidence. I actually started a Google Doc to list everything that was happening, titling it “Financial blessings beyond coincidence.”
- We had virtually no car repairs on two very old vehicles during that time.
- Both Kyle and I had job opportunities placed before us that year which raised our earnings by about 25%.
- Our fridge made loud, awful noises until we decided to finally get it repaired—but before we got around to calling about the repair, the noises suddenly stopped for months.
- We got an unexpected refund check in the mail from our insurance company for a doctor’s appointment from over two years prior.
- Our neighbors gave us a grocery store gift card in a month when we had already exceeded our grocery budget. (Their teenage son accidentally backed into my old, beat-up car and I don’t think they believed me that the big dent they thought he caused had already been there.)
To top it all off, when we were just about done paying off our debt, I found out that we had won a debt scholarship essay contest I had entered. The financial services company sponsoring the contest hadn’t stated exactly how much the prize money would be upfront because there was a chance they’d split it up a bit. The prize was $2,000. Guess how much debt we had left to pay off? Almost exactly $2,000.
God taught us so many valuable lessons during that year. I think one of the greatest lessons we learned was to pray boldly.
God doesn’t guarantee us he’ll give us what we want simply because we pray, but he does guarantee he’ll listen. Over and over in the Bible he tells us to ask him for what we want and need. So why don’t we do that more often? Why don’t we make praying about finances a habit? I think we feel like the very earthly things of life, like a budget, don’t really warrant prayer.
God cares about those earthly things, though. He cares a lot. Take a moment to bring your financial worries or goals before your Almighty God with a sincere heart. Be assured he’s hearing you. Then marvel at how he answers them.