Prosperity is a very popular word today. Some preachers talk a lot about prosperity, and sometimes we refer to this as the prosperity gospel. This is basically the idea that God wants everyone to be in perfect health all the time, that sickness is always outside the will of God, and if you are sick, then you should just claim health, and you will be better. It is also the idea that God wants you to be very wealthy. But this is not what the Bible teaches.
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Now, the Bible isn’t saying that we should all live in abject poverty and have nothing. But the Bible is saying that God’s definition of prosperity may be different than our definition of it. Prosperity doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is going easy and well. Prosperity means that you are in the will of God.
About five years before he made his journey to Rome, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers there and said, “One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you . . .” (Romans 1:10–11). The King James Version puts it this way: “Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you . . .” (emphasis added).
Here is what Paul was saying to the believers in Rome: “I want to come and see you, and I’m praying for a prosperous journey.”
Paul prayed for a prosperous journey to visit the believers in Rome, and he got just that. Some may say, “How so? There was a shipwreck and a storm.”
Exactly. But he was in the will of God.