Can You Pray Your Way Out of Debt?

By Brad Andres

Debt is a tricky thing. How should one deal with debt, and is prayer an effective tool for helping with debt?

Some people teach that you should have absolutely zero debt. Owe no man anything, or let no debt remain outstanding will be quoted from Romans 13:8.

Some people teach that debt is a tool, and you can make money from using other people's money. There are also various teachings in between the two sides of the spectrum of zero debt and using debt.

Regardless of whether or not debt is wrong, what happens when you find yourself in debt? What happens when you wake up one morning, and feel that you've been lied to your for your entire life. What happens when you realize that the following verse from the book of proverbs is true?

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:6-7 (NIV)

Once we realize that debt is not a friendly thing, then we begin to search out God to help us. We ask God to help get us out of debt. Again, there are multiple teachings on how this happens. Some people teach you to give, give, give, and then God will give it back to you ten, twenty, or hundredfold.

While that may be a true biblical principal teaching God's generosity, the idea behind those expressions in Scripture is not to teach a method for you to get out of debt.

Some people teach that you reap what you sow, therefore, go give money to help someone get out of debt, and God will in return bring you out of debt. Again, great biblical principle throughout the Scriptures which teaches that you get what you give. It's where we get the phrase treat others how you would want to be treated, or as Jesus said it: love your neighbor as yourself.

So therefore, we can continue to ask God for help. You can continue pleading that God will bring you out of debt. You can keep on crying out to God for Him to free you from this bondage. But the ultimate question is this: Can you pray your way out of debt?

No you cannot pray your way out of debt.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:26 (NIV)

Praying, faith, and believing that God can do something is great. It is needed. It is the building block of all Christian life. However, it doesn't stop there. Mental belief is not the destination God desires for us to rest our trust in Him. We are to trust God with everything we are, and this shows through in all of our actions.

So no, you can't pray your way out of debt. You can ask God for help, and He will help you, but you cannot pray your way out of debt. And while the teachings mentioned previously sound like they will work, they aren't a surefire way to get yourself out of debt. I'm not saying that God doesn't honor those principles and help people through those ideals. However, I am saying it is involving a little guesswork because God gave us the formula for getting out of debt. And the formula doesn't involve those teachings.

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have struck hands in pledge for another,
if you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands:
Go and humble yourself;
press your plea with your neighbor!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest--
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:1-11 (NIV)

In short, you don't pray your way out of debt, you work your way out of debt. You ask for forgiveness from your creditors. You ask for your debt to be forgiven and apologize that you cannot repay. You work like crazy to pay off your debts. You run with your head on fire and gather all the cash that you can to dump into repayment of your debts.

Yes God will help you get out of debt, and you should continue asking for His help. God is our provider. He provides for us by providing work opportunities and giving us wisdom. God can miraculously provide you with hundreds of thousands of dollars a moments notice to clear all your debts. However, on the normal, God teaches us to work, and work hard, to get out of debt.


Brand Andres is a licensed minister and his passion is to help people understand the Bible and maximize their God given potential for life.

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