No money for movies. No money for dinners out. No money for anything but essentials like food, gas, and toilet paper. Not exactly the dream life, is it?
But it's the life millions of Americans face. Foreclosures, unemployment, and stock market drops were once topics for news headlines. Now those topics fill our dinner conversations and our prayer requests.
I know what it's like to pray about overwhelming financial challenges. In my husband's first years as a pastor, our house payment gobbled half his income. I didn't expect riches when I married a minister, but I also didn't anticipate 13-16 percent interest rates on a starter home. After our tithe and a sacrificial gift to our church's building program, we lived on 30 percent of my husband's small salary.
During those ground beef and tuna years, I learned that lean financial times call for more than strict budgets and financial discipline. Tough times call for tough prayers—prayers that move us past frustration and helplessness to seeing God's power and glory in our daily lives. We can replace panic with confidence when we focus our prayers on these four requests.
Pray for Clarity
Every time I hear Suze Orman say "De-nied" to a caller's ridiculous spending request, I recognize the value of clarity. Many personal finance gurus encourage us to hold our financial records before a mirror so we can see our true monetary situation. Without a clear picture, we won't know how to balance our income and expenses. We won't make the hard choices needed for economic survival.1