“Is it wrong to pray for money?”
Chinaman……I had best answer that by asking the question – why? Why do you want money?
That may sound a ridiculous question for doesn’t everyone want money? However, it leads me to look much more deeply at motivation.
There is a constant striving in the human condition to make life more comfortable, to bend the habitation or environment to suit human kind. It is usually combined with the thought of doing less work to retain that level of comfort, for by having more control there is the chance of greater rest and enjoyment. It is a spur to work with the reward of laziness. That is of course overstating it, as I usually do, but still you can appreciate that there is the urge within us to make life more comfortable.
Rather than face the elements we build a house. Rather than continue to seek what nature provides freely we build a farm. There is always that extra luxury, that extra holiday, that better vehicle, the more comfortable clothing, the latest clothing and so on. It is always that extra something that is sought – but really – why? Is not what we have sufficient?
In relation to spirituality – the thought of desiring something is usually at odds with the thought of just ‘being’. To ‘want’ is to look beyond ‘what is’. Yet what actually needs to be done is first to appreciate what already is and then, in freedom, to be able to look at the desire of whether to change or not – whether it would be beneficial to change or not. But people do not usually have the insight or self awareness that is necessary to have that freedom of choice. It is an automatic thing to desire something more – that greater comfort.
A lesson can be learnt from simply regarding the main religious teachers of the past, for they have either lived in humble circumstances or have actually released their worldly goods. The Buddha was a very wealthy man and yet he gave it all away and renounced it. Jesus Christ was born in poverty. Indeed others who have strictly followed the religious teachings of the spiritual path rather than walked just the outward religious trappings, come to the realisation that what they need is not the acquisition of the physical but embrace the inner intangible things of love and compassion, of sacrifice of help and creativity. It appears to be a lesson that is most unpalatable to most people’s way of thinking.
I am not saying that a spiritual person cannot be rich – rich in terms of physical wealth. But I am saying it is exceedingly difficult for such a person not to be trapped by the physical allurements and rise above that challenge. So one way people have accepted the challenge through the centuries has been the embracing of a communal ownership and the renouncing of individual ownership.
It is said you cannot take money with you when you die to the incarnational plane, but people inwardly want to do this and so in their hearts they try! Yet what is needed while still incarnate is to disown all acquisition and ownership of that which cannot continue with the person and regard ‘acquisition’ as stewardship for a while – that all possessions are on loan for the time being so how best to make temporary use of them all.
For a rich person, rich in the physical sense, the burden of stewardship becomes incredible. Temptation is on every side. Is the ‘wanting’ a real need or just an indulgence? Is it necessary to procure the finest wine, the finest clothes or the latest model of conveyance, to use that money to further this thought or that thought for personal comfort, is it an enjoyment of life or selfish indulgence? And it takes an incredibly mature spiritual person to carry that burden. The Buddha felt he could not and yet he was considered of such immense spiritual stature. Indeed so many people delude themselves to think that they can. Without realising it they are caught by their hidden desires and hidden motivation for indulgence, so it is easier for those who are on the spiritual path to try to avoid such a pitfall and renounce it all.
Where is the middle way?
Life should embrace harmony and hold fun. The terribly zealous religious person can be so serious that life becomes impossibly dreary – and that is a denial of life itself. To interact with life is an affirmation of life. To appreciate the beauty of flower, or the scent or the taste is richness, is an enjoyment, and is fun, an affirming of life. It is not something held and possessed – it is passed on. Musical gifts, culinary arts are examples of this. Where the person delights in the cooking or the musical playing but share with others in that mutual appreciation, there is a richness. It is an enjoyment of life, it is fun. To cook only for oneself, to listen or play only for oneself, can become very much like the miser. If you have to gift to cook or create music, then it is part of your destiny and karma to share. That is a form of stewardship of gift, and to use the gift produces riches of spirit for all.
Thinking specifically of money, motivation is at the heart of this challenge. It is not money itself that is evil but the desiring of money which is the block to spiritual progression. It can even cause a shrinking of spirituality! There are so many prayers that I can eavesdrop upon and I am horrified when I listen to them. They are prayers of wanting this and wanting that or wanting something to happen for further comfort, and not looking at the lesson of the situation, not looking at the motivation behind the desire. So is it wrong to pray for money? The simple answer is, do you need this particular implement or this particular kind of clothing or this particular kind of conveyance or not. What is necessary? What is the reasoning behind it? If it is indulgence then you have the answer to your own question as to whether it is spiritually correct to pray for it or not.
Unfortunately that is too simplistic an answer and outlook. Life is far more complex and people’s desires and spiritual paths overlap. Other’s people’s spiritual growth intrudes upon your own. So if you are in a family or a community and one person is highly desirous of a certain comfort, you could go along with their desire. It might also ease your own discomfort or work load if you had it but you realise the acquisition is not necessary. Then, as it is immaterial whether you have it or not, even if you rejoiced if you did have it, it is not a misuse of prayer – for love or concern for the other person. Yet that might be too simplistic as well, for their desire might be blocking their own spiritual growth, so to pray for the acquisition on their behave is to do them a disservice!
It is not as if God desires everyone incarnate to live in poverty, because that is where lessons can be learnt, but rather the desire that everyone is of such a spiritual stature that they are not caught by that challenge of desire. It is not simple to unravel the various threads and say why a prayer for acquisition is ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or not answered. There are even many desires of humanity that are in direct conflict with other denizens on the incarnational world and God takes everything into account. So you can see that the picture becomes ever more complex the deeper we look.
How deep should you look? Only as deep as you think right, for you will always find more to confuse and confuddle. Rather let there be an attitude to your prayer, an attitude of contentment and acceptance and yet the desire to see harmony and growth possible at all times. If it is out of love and concern that money will help, then the answer is ‘No’. If not, then the answer is ‘Yes’.
Do you need to win the Lottery? Be careful, for you might get what you pray for and then where will you be – spiritually speaking I mean!!!!!