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Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask
November 28th, 2012
02:51 PM ET

Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – With odds of purchasing the winning Powerball ticket set at 1 in 175,223,510 – longer odds than dying from a bee sting or being struck by lighting – it shouldn’t be shocking that lotto hopefuls are turning to God for some divine intervention in advance of Wednesday night’s drawing for a $550 million jackpot.

One hastily set up website, “Prayer List for Powerball,” even charges people a dollar a piece to be included on a “list of those wishing to pray for each other to win the Powerball lottery.”

“Because WE Are STRONGER When WE Are CONNECTED,” the website says.

Around 20 people have bought in, their names scrawled across the bottom of the site.

But the idea of praying for something so selfish has raised some eyebrows. Many on Twitter are asking the simple question: Is it OK that I ask God to make my lottery ticket a winner?

So, are such prayers really OK?

“Sure, but it is complicated,” said Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford University anthropology professor who wrote the book “When God Talks Back,” about the use of prayer.

“I think people have parallel registers for thinking about the consequences of prayer,” she said. “For some, there is an invitation to talk to God about everything. At the same time, there is a sense that when you are walking with Jesus, you are becoming a better person, a person who would not want your prayer to prevent someone else to win the lottery.”

In doing research for her book, Luhrmann spoke with hundreds of Christians about why and how they pray. Some conversations centered on what she called prayer for “trivial things” – a good haircut, a parking spot or the answers to an exam. Others, however, derided those prayers as beneath God.

Lurhmann says the latter group of people doesn’t want God to be someone you would “just get coffee with.” Instead, they see a more formal God and are concerned, according to Lurhmann, “about [people] misunderstanding who God is.”

Those who view God more informally would say, according to Lurhmann, “that it is important to pray to God, but it is also important for God to be God. God wants to hear from you about everything, but God is going to make decisions about what he will do.”

For Rabbi Felipe Goodman of Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas, whether it is acceptable to pray for a winning lottery ticket boils down to whether you believe people will do good things with that money.

“Who are we to say that that person won’t change the world with that money,” Goodman said. “Why do we always have to think that people are going to do the wrong thing? I want to think that people are good, and I want to think that if someone comes into that money, they are going to do something good with it.”

Being from Las Vegas, a city that thrives on gambling, people regularly come to Goodman’s synagogue to pray for a bit of gambling luck. Though the Talmud, a Jewish holy book, says that professional gamblers should not be trusted, he says these people come to services because “they clearly think God is going to help them win.”

“Who are we to qualify whether or not this is trivial,” Goodman said.

Like those who have come to the rabbi’s synagogue, many on Twitter have looked to God for a lottery win.

At the Christian Prayer Center, a website that allows people to post prayers publicly, some have mentioned the lottery in a section called “Prayers for Finance.”

“For almost a year now I feel like the LORD is leading me to play the lottery,” reads one anonymous prayer posted recently. “I played the Mega Money Lotto for tomorrow nights drawing and I ask that your prayer warrior will pray for me for the numbers I had played and would hit the jackpot and if GOD's will for me to win I will be a blessing to his kingdom to help the poor and the needy.”

This practice isn’t unheard of. In the past, lottery winners have credited prayer with their financial windfalls.

In 2007, after Gloria Aguda won $9 million from the Colorado Lottery, she told the Denver Post that when her house was about to be foreclosed upon, she prayed for help and bought a lottery ticket.

Earlier this year, when 48 members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority won the lottery, some credited the win to prayer. Larry Green, a SEPTA employee for more than 30 years, said he prayed for his deceased wife, a woman who had always “talked about us hitting the lottery.”

“I prayed for a lottery win. I prayed to certain saints,” Green told NBC10 in Philadelphia. “And after we won, I kept praying to those saints, and I just wanted to say, never doubt the power of prayer, and that's it.”

Religion and the lottery have long been connected, primarily because religious leaders from many denominations have protested allowing lotteries in their states. For example, when South Carolina voters decided to repeal a constitutional amendment and allow the state to hold a lottery in the year 2000, religious voices from the largely evangelical state voiced disapproval.

“Anti-lottery signs proliferated on church property, clergy signed full-page newspaper advertisements opposing the plan and minister after minister wrote letters to the editor and guest commentaries for the South Carolina press,” recounts James L. Guth, professor at Furman University, in his paper “The Lotto and the Lord.

Earlier this year, Texas Baptists asked the state’s lottery commission to totally abolish the state lottery, arguing that it takes advantage of the poor and caters to impulse buyers.

“Having a deceptive product that is supported by the state is morally wrong,” Suzii Paynter, director of the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, told the Houston Chronicle. “From a Christian perspective, that is wrong. We have a moral aversion to exploiting poor populations.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (455 Responses)
  1. JULIANNA

    Hi am miss Julianna from Philippine and am here to thank, praise and share my good experience with this DR UDUEHI of uduehisolutiontemple@yahoo.com, i got married at the age of 27 to the man i loved and we were both living together and when i was 29 i gave birth to a baby boy for my husband and we both thank God for the child. but when our marriage was 8 years old my husband was been transfer to work in Canada which is another country and just within two month of him been there i called my husband and a lady pick up the call and i tried as after my husband and she told me to go to hell and that was how this evil lady took over my husband and even week ends when he come to Philippine he don't even ask after me nor the child so i know that my husband was been captured by a devilish woman and i started looking for solution every where . so my friend from Africa refereed me to this man DR UDUEHI at first i must tell you friends i never wanted to work with the man but when i notice there was nothing i can i decided to contact the man on his email because i cant go to his temple as am in Philippine and when i told this man my problems i was very surprise when he said to Julianna your husband will come for you on Friday and to my best surprise after some few sacrifice to his temple on that Thursday morning and when i got to work on Friday i received a call from a strange number to my best surprise it was my husband and that was how Dr uduehi help me to win back my man with his love spell and today am happily living with my husband Mr Santos . so i ask the Dr uduehi of uduehisolutiontemple@yahoo.com how do i pay you for this he said no to and ask me to share the good news to the world so others can also hear and benefit so this is why am doing this .love you all

    October 27, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  2. Zoe Alex

    I don't know where to post this, I have been trying to get my ex-lover back because I’m nobody without him but he seem to be drifting away from me until when I saw a post in here when “Skylar Torres” posted on how Dr.dele help her get her man back after 2 years of breakup. After been scam by lot of spell caster's promising me false hope not knowing all they really wanted was my money.

    I'm so happy today and am also thanking Skylar Torres for posting this early. Dr.dele, you are truly a man of your word. I'll never ever forget all the happiness you gave me. I highly recommend Dr.dele to you for whatever problem you are experiencing whether is love, money or psychic powers. He is powerful. You can contact him on this email: (dr.delespiritualtemple@gmail.com)

    Name: Zoe Alex
    Country: USA

    October 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  3. NANCY

    Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster called Dr.ogala, have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. His email: Ogalalovespell@yahoo.com

    October 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  4. nadine

    Hello everyone, i am from USA i never ever believed in spell until i meet a man called Dr ogala, who help me cast a spell that bring back my ex-lover who left me for one years before our marriage,His spells works beyond my imaginations and today i am happily married two kids and me and my [ex-lover] now husband are very happy more than ever before,what more can i say rather than to say thank you Dr ogala for been there for me,contact him today and your life will never ever remain the same his email is Ogalalovespell@yahoo.com

    October 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  5. Martha

    Thanks to Priest Ajigar for a wonderful spell cast that brought my Boy friend back to me, he left for good 4 years without even a call, i vowed never to marry any other person except him,my elder sister saw the way i missed him and cried every day that passed and decided we go in search of a power full spell caster seeing how he helped many people to restore their marriage and bringing back their ex i decided to contact Priest Ajigar and he was able to bring him back to me not that he never feel for me where he was but it was just that he found a girl there and he almost forget me but now he is back and we got married last week, you can see how priest Ajigar really helped me i seriously advised that if you are in a relationship and your boy friend is not proposing marriage to you or he left you for another girl after a long time relationship both of you have spent together i advice you consult High priest Ajigar for help on email:priestajigarspells@live.com his spells a pure and their is no doubt about it works perfectly as you desire withing four days thing will turn for good.

    Martha
    From USA

    October 14, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  6. rita

    i want to thanks DR, DOGUD. for the good work he don in my life over 9years now i married. but no child because of that my husband was planing to married another woman. and i don't no what to do i was going to one place to another i contact so many spell casters and pastors steel yet no solution especially all the spell caster i contact they scam me and take all my money. so i was confuse. later on friend of my told me about DR,DOGU. i contact him and told him about my problems.he told me not to worry that my problem is a spiritual problems that he will help. me later on he told me what to do i respond to all he said after that he told me to come to his village called urohi village and i went there and see things by my self he told me that it was a woman from my husband familly that block my womb that he has solve my problems that he only give me a year to come and visit him with a boy and girl i never believe. but rite now all he said come to pass after 9moths plus i delivered twins boy and girl wen it was a year plus me and my lovely husband and my two kids will went to the urohi village and visit him and he blessed us.me and my lovely husband are so happy. i don't no how to thank DR, DOGUD. for his great work he has don in my family am very great full. he is a great man and so truth full if you have any problem just try email him. returnexback@outlook.com

    October 13, 2013 at 8:42 am |
  7. rosemary

    rosemary

    My husband came home last week with the power of Dr greathope reach him via email address:greathopespell71@gmail.com

    October 13, 2013 at 8:41 am |
  8. felicia

    Felicia

    My husband has been home for several months. Last week he took it upon himself to pay our household bills, something he has not done for years. What I expected to see happening in the restoration of this marriage, is not how Dr greathope is working things. I have been praying daily for my husband and big changes are happening all around me. Dr greathope does work.reach him via email address:greathopespell71@gmail.com

    October 13, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  9. Leonard Wilson

    my names are Leonard Wilsonian want to testify to the how world of my good experience with Dr UDUEHI the spell caster, my wife ran away from our marriage after 3 years of marriage because she felt i was not the right man for her due to the fact that she was been deceived by her friends in her working place . and she also took our only son along with her so after she left i was not my self because i loved her so so much so i vowed not to rest until i am able to bring my wife back home because i knew she was be deceived by her friends so i began to look for what to do so one day as i was browsing i saw a post about this Dr UDUEHI of uduehisolutiontemple@yahoo.com on how he helped a lady to restored her relationship so i decided to give him try believe me when i tell my story to Dr UDUEHI him assure me three days my wife will come back home and that was what actually happened so with these great thing Dr UDUEHI has just done for me i have promise to always share his testimonies for others to hear bye

    October 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  10. smith

    A GREAT SPELL CASTER(ogboni)THAT HELP BRING MY EX GIRL BACK TO ME. My name is smith BUCKER i want to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost. I broke up with my ex girlfriend with just little misunderstanding hoping we will get back shortly,but things was growing worse until i contacted Dr nanadu who help me with his powers to bring her back, i have never believed in a spell caster until i come across Dr nanadu Well it will be of great sin if i should go out from here without Dr.ogboni the contact of this great spell caster,in case you need the help of this great spell caster you can contact him through his email:ogbonispelitemple@hotmail.com once you contact him all your problems will be over,once again i say very big thanks to you sir for helping me to recover my ex girlfriend, and please sir keep your good work cause people may need your help.

    := love marriage
    := Business problem
    := Problem in husband wife
    := Foreign traveling
    := Problem in study
    := Problem as childless
    := Physical problem
    := Problem in family relations
    := problem in your love
    := Willful marriage
    := Promotions our wised love back
    Get all solutions in your life within 36 hours and with 101% guaranteed.
    CO

    October 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  11. Jensen

    Lord Krishna Alm, is the absolute best spell caster I have tried. I only ordered one Love Spell from him, the results were amazing! I actually don't want to put too many details here, in case my new FIANCE finds this site. Yes, I said fiance! We are getting married next spring! I can not believe that I have found a love so true and so amazing and so perfect! Much better than the free stuff I was trying on my own!
    you can contact him via Email: lordkrishnatemple@hotmail.com

    October 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  12. ANN

    I am Mrs ANDERSON ANN from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband Barry Morgan, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Clara who en charm him with his beauty, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my friend Miss Rose and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Iyayi. who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Rose ask me to contact Dr Iyayi. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness and that he never knew what came upon him that he will never leave me again or the kids.it was the spell that was casted on him that was working on him. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr.Iyayi on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his contact driyayilovespellhome@gmail.com.He is the best spell caster.

    October 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  13. santo

    My Name is SANTO WESTLEY..I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i contact this man called okutemple@hotmail.com Execute some business..He is really powerful..My wife divorce me with no reason for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have her back cos i really love her so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early age at the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and she woke up one morning and she told me she’s going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when she came back from work she tender to me a divorce letter and she packed all her loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have her back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 4 years…So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for her full name and her picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos have tried so many spell casters and there is no solution…so when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that she’s with a man and that man is the reason why she left me…The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring her back.but i never believe all this…he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days..3 days later,she called me herself and came to me apologizing

    October 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  14. james

    I NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS WORLD'S TOP SPELL CASTER. HE IS REALLY POWERFUL AND COULD HELP CAST SPELLS TO BRING BACK ONE'S GONE,LOST,MISBEHAVING LOVER AND MAGIC MONEY SPELL OR SPELL FOR A GOOD JOB.I'M NOW HAPPY & A LIVING TESTIMONY COS THE WOMAN I HAD WANTED TO MARRY LEFT ME 2 WEEKS BEFORE OUR WEDDING AND MY LIFE WAS UPSIDE DOWN COS OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ON FOR 2YEARS... I REALLY LOVED HIM, BUT HIS MOTHER WAS AGAINST US AND HE HAD NO GOOD PAYING JOB. SO WHEN I MET THIS SPELL CASTER, I TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINED THE SITUATION OF THINGS TO HIM..AT FIRST I WAS UNDECIDED,SKEPTICAL AND DOUBTFUL, BUT I JUST GAVE IT A TRY. AND IN 7 DAYS WHEN I RETURNED TO USA, MY GIRLFRIEND(NOW WIFE) CALLED ME BY HERSELF AND CAME TO ME APOLOGIZING THAT EVERYTHING HAD BEEN SETTLED WITH HIS MOM AND FAMILY AND SHE GOT A NEW JOB INTERVIEW SO WE SHOULD GET MARRIED..I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT COS THE SPELL CASTER ONLY ASKED FOR MY NAME AND MY GIRLFRIENDS NAME AND ALL I WANTED HIM TO DO... WELL WE ARE HAPPILY MARRIED NOW AND WE ARE EXPECTING OUR LITTLE KID,AND MY WIFE ALSO GOT THE NEW JOB AND OUR LIVES BECAME MUCH BETTER. IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THE SPELL CASTER FOR SOME HELP, HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS;okutemple@hotmail.com ......HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT OUR OPPORTUNITY ... CONTACT THIS GREAT SPELL CASTER VIA EMAIL:okutemple@hotmail.com

    October 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  15. Frank

    I just got my ex back with the help of Priest Ajigar the love spell caster i own all thanks to Priest Ajigar for bringing her back to me i saw how people testified of how Priest Ajigar has been of help to them helping them to revive their marriage and getting their ex back i contacted him on 26 and on 28 of september She came back to me and promised me she will never leave me again all thanks to High Priest Ajigar for his kind help and in case you are looking for a good and powerful spell caster that will bring your ex back or make your husband or wife love you the more and care for you just contact him on (priestajigarspells@live.com)

    October 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  16. andy de

    i do not know how to thank this man called dr.soula fro the great help he has render to me in making me win the powerball lottery. I told him that i do not want to win big that i just need an amount that will be okay for my family to start and new life and he did his spiritual magic and the my name came out as a winner of $150,000. I am not doubting any thing that has to involve voodoo in my life cause i heard that he has help so many people and now i have seen for myself so you can contact this man today for help drsoula_b@live.com

    October 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  17. Ann

    I am Ann from Uk I want testify of how i got my ex back; ever since we had misunderstanding he hasn’t been calling me and i tried calling him but often do bounce my calls till my friend told me about a spell caster in the internet Dr Oduduwa who casts spells on diverse kind of issues like; getting back your ex, making your business grow fast, life
    success, prosperity spell etc. When i contacted him, he told me he needs to do some rituals on my own and and cast a reunion spell on him that after a week, 7 days my ex lover came begging for mercy… Am so happy! Visit Dr Oduduwa at fatheroduduwaspellcaster@gmail.com
    now! This isn’t a scam i thought it was before but now am a testimonial you can experience d same… Wish you the best and Goodluck!!

    September 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  18. britney

    Am Britney Jones from USA, i never knew that there was

    still a real spell caster until i met Dr Ebhoma, who helped

    me in bringing back my runaway husband for me. you can also

    contact him through his email for your own solution:

    ebhomalovespelltemple@live.com

    September 27, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  19. desmond mark

    An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my wife back to me.. My name is desmond mark i live in Australia,and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.{ogojidogospirituallovespelltemple@live.com}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {5}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website {ogojidogospirituallovespelltemple@live.com},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to the ogojidogolovespell for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{ogojidogospirituallovespelltemple@live.com}
    Thanks...
    answered 4 days ago by anonymous
    Hello my there friend am happy for the great work of Dr ogojidogo

    September 9, 2013 at 7:37 am |
  20. jennifer

    Thanks to the great man the man of all people he is the greatest man i have ever seen since i came to this world i was frustrated but one good day i just said let me go to the internet so i came across the good work of this great man the great Dr. ibrahim so i contacted him for him to help me bring back my ex boyfriend and he laugh he said is this your problem and i said yes then he told me to clean my tears that it will just take him 2days to bring him back after i gave him all he required i waited till the 2days came and that faithful day i saw some knocking at my door who did i found, my ex boyfriend he started begging for forgiveness that is how i got my ex back true the great Dr.ibrahim, i advice you to contact him in any kind of problem email ibrahimsolutionhome@gmail.com you can also call his cell phone +2348169765399

    September 9, 2013 at 6:03 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.