Prayers aren’t magic. Money can’t buy happiness.

“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.

For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.” Jesus, The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 7-8

It sounds so simple. Just ask the Father and he will give us what we ask for.

But will He? Is this an invitation for us to enter some magic realm of saying a prayer and getting anything we want?

Indeed, it would be so nice if I ask him for $1M before I go to bed and when I wake up tomorrow morning, to find a bag full of money on the floor next to my bed. Yay! Early Christmas right? I can quit my job and go do whatever I want!

Can you see where this is going?

Instead of me waking up and pressing in, learning new things so I can succeed in my job or in life in general, I’ll just buy my way into what, happiness?

They say that money can’t buy happiness. I believe that’s true. But have you wondered why?

Could it be because getting to a place of understanding what true happiness means and also getting the insight we need on how to be happy, is a difficult process?

Most people dislike the idea of through a difficult process and enduring a host of challenges, maybe even suffering and loss, in order to consider the issue of happiness at a deep level.

Dennis Prager, author of Happiness Is a Serious Problem, says this about money and happiness in his book:

“Unhappy poor people at least have the fantasy that money will make them happy; unhappy rich people don’t even have that.”

Likewise, I don’t believe that poverty in and of itself can make people more happy, moral or ethical. It’s what many poor people discover about how to survive poverty that makes them stronger and more resilient than spoiled well-to-do people.

Many (not all) people fighting poverty learn the secret of being grateful for the little they have, instead of fretting over what they don’t have. Others, in their struggle to survive, learn the secret of discovering new inner skills they didn’t know they had – physical, intellectual or emotional.

You see, spoiled well-to-do people who aren’t facing imminent existential issues have no reason to dig deeper and discover such resources within them. They are used to using money as a shortcut to achieve whatever they want. And while hiring talented people to get things done for you is by no means an easy job, you can’t hire anyone to make you happy.

Money in and of itself cannot possibly be a shortcut to happiness. In fact, the pursuit of material riches will most likely lead astray even the most prudent and ethical among us.

This is why God, our Heavenly Father cannot and will not grant “magical” wishes sent his way as “prayers”.

The “Ask, and it will be given you” admonition of Jesus is for people who aren’t looking for magical shortcuts. It’s for those who understand we are all here to follow Him. To follow means to go through the process. His process. His calling. His purpose and His timing.

Those are the blessed souls who will live to see the answer to their prayers!

George Bakalov