How God Taught Me About Prosperity
Written by Kenneth E. Hagin
The subject of prosperity is currently so misunderstood in the church world that I feel I must comment on it. The Lord Himself taught me about prosperity. I never read about it in a book. I got it directly from heaven. It has blessed me and my family so much, I want to share it with you.
I was born and raised Southern Baptist, and the first church I pastored was Baptist. When it came to pastors, we Baptists had a little saying: “Lord, You keep him humble, and we’ll keep him poor.” We thought we were doing God a favor. We thought that was the way it ought to be.
Then I got over among the Pentecostals. Because they had more vim, vigor, and vitality than we Baptists, they were twice as good at keeping the pastor poor! And some way or other, we young preachers swallowed whatever our elders said about prosperity; we didn’t take the time to examine the Word of God on the subject.
We were taught that if you’re a Christian, you ought to go through life – especially if you’re a preacher – without anything, with the soles of your shoes worn out, the seat of your pants worn out, and the top of your hat worn out. And drive an old car with the fenders flopping. That’s being humble and holy! That’s honoring God!
We had faith for healing for ourselves and our children, but we had no faith for finances. We always struggled financially, both as a family and as a church, in every pastorate.
As I look back now, I turn my face away in shame that I was so stupid. We’d finally make it through some way or another, by kicking and clawing, bawling and squalling, fasting and praying. It would look like we never were going to make it, but we would. God had mercy on our stupidity and ignorance and helped us in spite of ourselves.
I left my last church in 1949 and went out in “field ministry,” going from church to church holding what we called “revivals” or “meetings.” After I had been out in the field a solid year, from February 1949 to January 1950, my records showed I’d earned $1,200 less than my church had paid me for the previous 12 months.
Plus, the church had furnished our parsonage, and it was the best we’d ever lived in. Plus, they’d furnished all the utilities. Plus, they’d paid all my expenses to every convention I’d needed to attend, and they were always buying clothing and other gifts for my wife and I.
Now that I was out on my own, I had to pay my own rent, my own utilities, go to conventions at my own expense, and pay travel expenses to and from the meetings. During the first year on the field, my car had four bald tires and no spare.
I was holding a meeting down in East Texas when I went to the Lord about our financial problems. I went on a partial fast, and each afternoon I spent several hours in prayer. On the third day, I had all my statistics laid out in front of me once again, and I said, “Now, Lord, see how much better off I’d be if I’d stayed in my church? That’s what I wanted to do anyhow.”
I’d gotten a hold of the Scripture that says, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isa. 1:19), and quoted it to Him again. The still, small voice of the Lord spoke to my spirit, my innermost being: “First of all, that Scripture you keep quoting to Me says, ‘If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.’ The reason you aren’t eating the good of the land is because you don’t qualify. You are obedient, but you aren’t willing. So you don’t qualify to eat the good of the land.”
Don’t tell me it takes a long time to get willing. I know better. I made a little adjustment down on the inside of me, and I got willing in ten seconds! I said, “Now I’m willing. I know I am willing. You know I am willing. And the devil knows I am willing. Now I am ready. I am ready to eat the good of the land, because You told me that being willing is all I lacked.” The next thing the Lord said to me was, “Your trouble is, you preach faith, but you don’t practice faith.”
“Yes,” He said, “you practice faith when it comes to healing, and that’s commendable. But you use your faith for healing, salvation, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s as far as you ever go with your faith. But faith is the same in every realm, in every sphere. Faith works identically in every realm and in every sphere. Faith for finances works just like faith for healing, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or salvation. Faith is the same in the financial realm as it is in any of the others.
Now, if it were healing you needed for your own body, you would claim it by faith and go out and publicly announce you were healed. You’ve done that. Sometimes even while you were preaching, any symptoms you had would disappear. Now, you see, you have to do the same thing when it comes to finances.” I saw I wasn’t exercising faith in finances at all. We hadn’t known we could exercise our faith for finances.
The Lord instructed me that after I once claimed what I needed, that was to be the end of the matter. I wasn’t to pray or do anything else. If I thought about the situation, I was simply to stay in faith and say, “Thank God for it. It’s working.”
I will never forget it. The Lord said all this to me in the bedroom of the parsonage where I was praying. If you receive a revelation from God, prove it out first before you start preaching or teaching it. Don’t proclaim it until you prove that it’s in line with the Word and with experience. I tested this revelation at my next meeting, claiming $150 a week. I counted 45 people in the morning worship service. At the end of three weeks, I was given $750 plus a new set of tires for the used car I had just bought!
It took all the faith I had back in 1950 to believe for that $150. After feeding my faith on the Word of God and exercising for the past 50 years, I can now believe God as easily for $1 million as I could then for $150.
Your faith can grow. Start exercising it on the things you need, but don’t start out claiming something ridiculous. And remember, it is not God who is withholding your needs and wants.