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Is it a sin to ask to win the lottery?

The question of whether it is sinful to pray and ask God to help you win the lottery is one that many Christians wrestle with. On one hand, wanting to win the lottery can seem driven by greed and a desire for quick riches. On the other hand, many see nothing wrong with asking God for help with finances, even if it involves a game of chance like the lottery. There are good arguments on both sides of this issue, which ultimately comes down to one’s own conscience and relationship with God.

What does the Bible say about greed and getting rich quick?

The Bible contains many warnings against greed and pursuing wealth as one’s main goal in life. Verses such as 1 Timothy 6:9 warn that those who want to get rich fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires. We are also instructed in verses like Matthew 6:19-21 to store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth, which can be interpreted as a warning against valuing material wealth too highly. Stories about people who became rich quickly, such as the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, usually warn about the spiritual dangers of instant wealth.

Overall, the Bible promotes contentment and hard work rather than quick routes to wealth (Philippians 4:11-12, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12). Wanting to instantly win huge sums of money could indicate a greedy heart and misplaced priorities according to these principles. So if the lottery is seen as a get-rich-quick scheme driven by greed, it would be sinful to pray to win it.

What does the Bible say about God providing for needs?

However, the Bible does encourage asking God for provision and meeting daily needs. Verses like Matthew 6:11, Matthew 7:7-11 and Philippians 4:19 speak of God giving His people their “daily bread” and supplying all needs. Many Christians who pray to win the lottery justify it by pointing to these verses – essentially viewing the lottery as a way for God to financially provide for them or their families. They are asking for help with a specific need, not necessarily driven by greed.

Additionally, some also point to examples in the Bible where God seemingly blesses people with great wealth, such as Solomon (1 Kings 3:13) and Abraham (Genesis 13:2). This suggests that God can answer prayers for financial blessings if it aligns with His will. With this perspective, praying to win the lottery is seen as acceptable.

Should Christians gamble or play the lottery?

One objection raised against praying to win the lottery is that buying a ticket involves gambling, which is potentially sinful. Most Christian denominations discourage gambling, seeing it as driven by greed and detrimental to those who become addicted. Verses like Proverbs 13:11 say “dishonest money dwindles away”. While playing the lottery or visiting a casino is not specifically forbidden, many view gambling as an unwise use of money rooted in the sin of coveting.

However, many Christians who play the lottery do not see it as true “gambling”, especially if they are only spending a small affordable amount for an occasional ticket. Their motivation is not necessarily greed, but simply wanting a chance for God to bless them financially. They play for entertainment and do not expect to win consistently. With this mindset, praying to win is not seen as promoting gambling or its associated sins.

Should we tell God exactly how to bless us?

Some Christians take issue with praying to win the lottery precisely because it involves telling God exactly how to provide for your needs. They point to verses like Isaiah 55:8-9 which remind us that God’s ways are higher than our ways. From this perspective, it is fine to pray for financial help but presumptuous to tell God you want to win the lottery, as He may wish to bless you in other ways. We should pray for God’s will in meeting needs, not our own will.

Similarly, some view buying a ticket and praying for God to make it the winner as “tempting” or testing God, which is sinful according to Deuteronomy 6:16. While God may miraculously intervene, expecting Him to rig the lottery odds in your favor because of your prayer could be viewed as testing whether God will come through for you. This mindset seems to betray a lack of real faith in God’s general provision.

Factors that influence the morality of praying to win the lottery

Whether or not it is acceptable to pray to win the lottery depends much on the surrounding attitudes and motivations involved:

Greed vs. Need – Praying to win strictly out of greedy desire for instant wealth is more concerning than praying to meet a genuine need.

Desperation vs. Mild Desire – A desperate prayer for finances seems more justified than casually praying to win for extra spending money.

Occasional vs. Habitual – Praying as you buy a ticket now and then seems less objectionable than making a habit of expecting God’s help to win frequently.

Entertainment vs. Reliance – Buying a ticket for fun while relying on God more broadly is different than true dependence on winning for financial rescue.

Selfishness vs. Helping Others – Praying to use the winnings selfishly raises more concerns than wishing to help others generously with the money.

Prayer Alone vs. Action – Praying to win while also working hard and wisely managing finances is better than passive prayer alone.

Acceptance vs. Demanding – Praying wishfully yet accepting God’s will is different than demanding God make you win or viewing it as an entitlement.

So the context surrounding the prayer and the person’s broader spiritual life substantially impact whether it is sinful or acceptable to pray to win the lottery.

Perspectives from different Christian traditions

Within Christianity, different denominations take varying approaches regarding the morality of praying to win the lottery:


The Catholic Church formally opposes gambling. The Catechism states games of chance are morally wrong unless the amounts involved are small and not risking basic provisions for one’s family (2413). Praying to win serious lottery prizes would be discouraged, but occasional small participation may be permissible.


Mainline Protestant denominations discourage gambling as driven by greed. They emphasize working honestly and giving generously over trying to win riches. However, they allow for individual conscience on occasions like buying a lottery ticket. Praying over that decision would not necessarily be prohibited.


Evangelicals take a firm stance against gambling and games of chance, seeing them as pathway to addiction and preying on the poor. While they strongly discourage buying lottery tickets, they acknowledge it as an individual decision. Praying to win would likely be discouraged but views vary by congregation.

Prosperity Gospel

Prosperity gospel churches not only see it as acceptable to pray to win the lottery, but even actively encourage it. They teach that God wishes financial prosperity for all believers and can deliver it however He chooses. Winning the lottery through prayer fits with the prosperity message.

So traditions emphasizing moral dangers of gambling urge caution about praying to win, while those emphasizing God’s ongoing blessings are more open to the practice if not greed-driven.

Objections to praying to win the lottery

Here are some common objections Christians raise against praying to win the lottery:

– It demonstrates greed and discontentment rather than gratitude for God’s existing provision.

– It prefers earthly treasure over eternal heavenly rewards.

– It attempts to test or tempt God’s provision.

– It presumes to tell God specifically how to bless you rather than submitting to His wisdom.

– It depends on superstitious faith in random chance over God’s sovereign plan.

– It enables and propagates gambling institutions that prey on addiction and desperation.

– It shifts focus away from holy living and spiritual growth toward instant material riches.

– It pursues personal gain over more noble priorities like ministries, charity and serving others.

– It often leads to destruction as money corrupts morals and ruins lives.

These objections emphasize the many spiritual dangers of focusing on lottery winnings over more godly purposes and priorities.

Responses to objections against praying to win the lottery

Here are some potential responses to the above objections:

– Playing the lottery occasionally does not necessarily indicate greed – some buy tickets out of fun without great expectation of winning.

– Small affordable tickets are a harmless entertainment expense for some, not a serious investment or sign of greed.

– For those in desperate circumstances, praying for help through even unlikely means comes from need not greed.

– Winning a lottery through an answered prayer can be seen as divine provision, not random chance.

– Those who pray while continuing to honestly work and wisely steward money are not seeking only “easy riches”.

– For some, a large influx of money may aid their moral purpose or charitable goals more than modest living would.

– A prayer may simply ask for help meeting basic needs in hard times, not necessarily great wealth.

– If God can direct attention to a lost lottery ticket or help win in various ways, it does not seem to “test” Him in a prohibited way.

– Occasional small lottery participation does not necessarily enable and propagate more addictive gambling.

– Praying to alleviate financial burdens can lessen stress and anxiety, improving spiritual life.

So while objections point out potential spiritual hazards, the context and heart motivation are important when determining if prayer to win some lottery money is acceptable or not.

Alternative viewpoints

There are also some Christians who take an alternative perspective that praying to win the lottery is not inherently sinful, but usually unwise:

– They believe God can work through any circumstance, even games of chance, so long as hearts are not sinfully motivated.

– However, actively pursuing a lottery win takes focus off caring for the poor and other higher priorities.

– Coveting jackpots often leads to dissatisfaction and idolizing of wealth over spiritual things.

– God may occasionally lead someone to a lottery win, but it is unwise to make that an aim through prayer.

– While not condemning small lottery participation, they view buying tickets and praying to win as generally an unwise use of money and priorities.

This view agrees praying to win is not necessarily sinful, but caution against actively pursuing it as it can lead to many pitfalls and temptations even if started innocently.

Advice for balancing prayer and the lottery appropriately

For Christians seeking to navigate this issue wisely and maintain a healthy biblical perspective, here is some helpful advice:

– Motives matter greatly. Periodically examine your heart to ensure you are free from greed and idolizing of money.

– Keep lottery spending a small affordable amount, avoiding dependence on possible winnings.

– Do not neglect true financial stewardship principles of working, saving, budgeting and giving.

– Focus prayers on trusting God’s overall provision and seeking contentment, not demanding specific lottery results.

– Balance prayers for your own needs with interceding for others’ needs and blessings as well.

– Maintain good priorities like ministry, church and charity work rather than obsessing over jackpots.

– View any lottery outcomes humbly as God’s grace, not something you directly caused or deserved.

– Do not pressure or judge other Christians, recognizing they may prayerfully come to different stances.

– Let the peace of God guide your conscience. If conviction indicates you should stop, obey that leading.

With wisdom and mindfulness of potential pitfalls, Christians can navigate this issue each according to their own conscience and relationship with God.


In summary, there are good arguments on both sides of the question on whether it is sinful or acceptable to pray to God help you win the lottery. Ultimately, Scripture does not directly address this specific issue. Sincere Christians can thoughtfully come to different conclusions about appropriate attitudes and actions related to occasional lottery participation or prayer to win. This seems to be a Romans 14 area where individuals before the Lord must determine their own convictions according to their conscience. However, all Christians would agree the priority is to steer clear of the dangers of greed, preoccupation with money and testing God regardless of the conclusion on this specific issue.

Argument Supporting Perspective
Praying to win the lottery demonstrates greed and discontentment with God’s provision Bible warns against greed and desire for quick riches (1 Tim 6:9, Matt 6:19-21, Luke 15:11-32)
Praying to win the lottery is presumptuous and attempts to test God’s provision Deut 6:16 warns against putting God to the test. Should pray for His will.
The lottery enables addictive gambling institutions that prey on desperation Most churches discourage gambling due to addiction dangers
Praying to win the lottery reflects acceptable petitioning God for daily needs Bible encourages prayer for “daily bread” provision (Matt 6:11)
An answered prayer lottery win can be viewed as divine provision Examples in Bible of God financially blessing people like Solomon (1 Kings 3:13)
Prayer to win lottery demonstrates trust rather than testing if person continues working hard Those working hard alongside prayer are not seeking only easy riches