Key Words: The financial advice Billy Graham liked to give

God is not your banker. He is not your benevolent creditor. And is definitely not your CPA.

In 2011, when Americans were still suffering the aftershock of the Great Recession, one loyal follower wrote to evangelist Billy Graham for help.

This is what he wrote:

‘I’ve prayed and prayed for God to help me with my financial problems, but nothing happens. I was convinced He’d help me win the latest Powerball lottery but He didn’t. What am I doing wrong?’

Graham, who died Thursday aged 99, offered this advice:

“I don’t know your situation, of course — but I can’t help but wonder how you think God ought to go about solving your financial problems,” he wrote. “Do you think He should give you a sudden windfall (such as an unexpected inheritance or a lottery payoff)? Do you think He ought to make your creditors cancel your debts? What exactly do you hope He’ll do?”

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“I ask this because often, I’ve found, people expect God to answer their prayers in ways that simply aren’t realistic or according to His will. Nowhere in the Bible, for example, does God promise to bless us through gambling or games of chance. Nor does God promise to intervene if we get into debt because of our own greed or foolishness. The Bible warns that “A greedy man brings trouble to his family” (Proverbs 15:27).”

But Graham said God is there in other non-monetary ways. “Does this mean that God doesn’t want to help you?” he said. “No, not at all — but He may do it in practical ways you’ve been overlooking. Do you have a budget? Is it realistic, and are you following it? The first thing you need to do is get a tight grip on your expenses. Then ask God to give you wisdom about paying back the debts you owe; your community may have a non-profit financial counseling service that can help you.”

“Money isn’t everything — but it can destroy us if we aren’t careful,” he added.

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