The quick answer to this is simply no. The “prosperity gospel”, the idea that being a good Christian, or fervent prayer, or (particularly with televangelism and churches that tithe) giving, will bring back greater material rewards is simply not how God works with mankind, including with believers.

 

The prayer of Jabez

There are several verses that have become associated with the “prosperity gospel” idea. One of them which several years ago had great popularity was 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 which shows a prayer for material blessing being answered:

9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 ESV)

The problem is that this is an obscure micro-story of someone we otherwise know very little about. It is not the story of someone we do know a lot about like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and so on.

Jesus’ teaching on material wealth

Nor is it in line with Jesus’ own teaching about riches to his disciples:

19:23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19 ESV)

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