There is a whole group of people out there that God is a magical ATM. What I mean by this is that God is someone who loves us and wants to give us good things, we just have to key in the right passcode. You know, punch in a few prayers and fastings and God will give us exactly what we want.
Surprisingly, many prayer meetings end up as nothing more than hoping to hit the right code that will have God act.
This is part of what’s behind the prosperity movement, and those that believe that God is out there wanting us to have an abundant life in the here and now, and all we have to do is figure out how to claim the reward.
The problem with these philosophies is that they somehow totally miss what actually happened to Christ when He was on the Earth. No one knew how to pray like Jesus prayed. No one knew the will of the Father like He did. And yet he was without a place to call home for His entire ministry. He did not have many personal possessions. He had the leaders of the day calling Him names, spreading lies, etc. And He ended up dying on a cross between two thieves– not so that we could have Rolex watches or BMWs, but so that we could be saved from sin.
But the kicker is what he told His disciples. He told them that if they persecuted Him, they would persecute His followers more. If they reviled Him, they would revile them more. He even went so far as to pronounce a blessing in the Sermon on the Mount especially for those that would be persecuted.
So, God is not your ATM. He’s out to change you into the image of His dear Son, and mostly it’s through trials and testing, not wealth and privilege.