PRAYERS IN TIMES OF FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

These prayers in times of financial difficulties can serve as a reminder that, although, in the words of a Cyndi Lauper song “money changes everything,” in our faith it isn’t the only thing that matters, not by a long shot!

Dear Lord,
Help me find firm ground in this shaky economy.
As I seek work and assistance,
Give me strength not to be anxious when I seem to be going nowhere;
Give me patience not to despair when things look bleak;
Give me serenity to know you are here with me, helping me to carry my crosses each day;
So that I may do Your will,
For the salvation of souls
And my Eternal Life.

This one is slightly longer, but expresses a similar sentiment:

Dear Lord,
In this time of uncertainty,
Be my rock in a world built on sand;
Be my oasis of grace and peace in a world of tension and turmoil;
Help me to carry my cross gracefully, as you did in Your Passion;
Help me to follow Your beam of light in the midst of this darkness;
Help me to see Your will in all things
And show others Your comfort and strength.

Keep me calm when tempers flare up;
Keep me sane in a crazy world;
Keep me focused on the houses in Heaven
rather than the houses of cards collapsing around me;
Keep my eyes focused on the prize of Heaven
and not lose hope in You in this world or in the world to come;
Make me compassionate in dealing with others;
Let me see my travails as carrying my cross and sharing in Your Passion, for the love of You and for the salvation of souls, including mine.
And may all my difficulties be ultimately for my good and Your glory. Amen.

Our Lord challenged us in the Gospels not to worry about what we need in terms of the necessities of life such as food and clothing, but rather to “seek first the kingdom of God….and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33). He also advised us to not to worry about tomorrow, as it would take care of itself (Matt 6:34).

That seems a lot easier said than done these days, doesn’t it? So many of today’s anxieties center around two words: money and jobs! In our Prayer Requests section we get many notes from people wondering how they’re going to find a job or pay their bills or take care of their loved ones!

What can we do? Turn to God in prayer, again and again. Persevere in the knowledge He loves us and wants to use our trials to strengthen us emotionally and spiritually if we let him. Give Him all your anxieties and ask for His graces for yourself and your loved ones.

And, as tough as this may sound, don’t give into despair! Try to bear with your financial difficulties with equanimity saying to God, in effect, “Thy will be done.” Our pains and suffering need not be wasted or meaningless if we offer them up to our Lord for our good and for our salvation.

We can all live with less of everything, everything that is except for love. This is a time to show more compassion towards others, whenever possible, and not to give in to feelings of bitterness about being wronged.

Also it is important not let the tension we may naturally feel about how we’re going to provide for our loved ones keep us from showing them our love.

And for those of us who never did anything shady but are still losing jobs and pensions and homes because of the misdeeds of others in this economy, we need to remember Our Lord. After all did he deserve the brutal punishment inflicted upon Him in His Passion, he who was without sin? Of course not, but he bore it anyway for our sakes!

As we read in the book of Isaiah “he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins” (Is 53:5). Thinking about this can help keep us from nursing grudges over life’s unfairness.

This doesn’t mean of course, that we should be Pollyannas about these times of course! The pain and anxieties many of us are feeling about our financial difficulties are quite real. And not quite knowing where the light is at the end of the tunnel, or where we even are in this tunnel, doesn’t help!

Yet God is with us, especially in the midst of our sufferings, and wants to help us advance in holiness during these times if we are willing to let him do so!

This is a time for finding out what is really important in our lives and what really counts. And it’s not the false sense of security and superiority we get from keeping up with the Joneses! Do we really need to measure our self-worth by the size of our bank accounts, or our houses?

Didn’t Christ tell us instead not to store up treasures here on earth which can decay or be stolen, but rather, through living lives of holiness and true Gospel charity, to store them up in Heaven “where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal” (Matt 6:20)?

Speaking of houses, while we worry about making a living, remember what our Lord told His apostles after the Last Supper: “Let not your heart be troubled… In my Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).

Perhaps you’ve read of those who have had near-death experiences or who have actually died and come back to life, describing peace and magnificent surroundings beyond anyone’s imagination here.

Granted, these are anecdotal but reflect also on the words of St. Paul who, himself once experienced heaven during his lifetime (2 Cor 12:2) and wrote elsewhere that “eye has not seen nor ear heard...what things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9).

Time and time again in scripture we read of the importance of keeping our worship focused on the Creator rather than the created, not to get too attached to the things of this world. In so doing we may better show genuine love and caring for each other.

When we act in this manner, and bear with our financial difficulties gracefully, turning them over to God, we can better assure that, whatever our financial situation might be now we have great hope that God will help turn things around for us, if not in this life, than in the Eternal one to come in heaven!

We hope these reflections, like these prayers can provide you with some comfort and strength. And remember also that everything passes away in this life, both the good and the bad, but God, his place for us, and His love last forever! As our Lord said to His disciples after His resurrection “I am with you always” (Matt 28:20).

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