Bargaining with God?


Is it okay to bargain with God? I don’t remember ever doing it. My view has been we propose and God disposes. My wife of 54 years is not Catholic and is in a lot of pain. We have about run out of options to deal with it. The thought occurred to me that she should tell the Lord that I will go to RCIA, or private lessons with a priest, if He would heal her. What do you think? I am not sure she will do it but maybe.


It’s not considered a good thing to do because God may continue to say “no” for reasons of His own. In a case like yours, if somehow your wife wasn’t healed, you’d be upset and probably quit RCIA or quit the church. It’s the wrong reason to agree to go.

You should be going to RCIA, not as a bargain with God, but because fullness of faith and a closer relationship with Jesus will help you cope with your situation, regardless of whether your wife gets better or not.

Continue to pray that your wife’s pain is eased, whether or not you choose to go to RCIA.


I agree with what you said but I believe she would be heeled.


If you want to go to RCIA and become Catholic, do so. It will help you and your wife . Do you attend mass together.


so my next question is, what pain management is your wife receiving and why has it stopped working


Only on occasion.


OP, I admire your love for your wife. But God does not make deals. If that was how it worked, everyone would do that, and it wouldn’t be an honest faith, would it? Better that you come to him genuinely in prayer for your wife.


Do you believe your wife will be healed only if she makes such a promise? In other words, do you think God is withholding healing for your wife until she promises Him something? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I have read of one or two people who have promised God something, usually a life of service etc and it has been granted, but there is always the possibility that our Heavenly Father in His wisdom denies the request the consequence of which can seriously damage your faith unless your faith is unassailable. Same problem with gambling I think.

As other wiser people have suggested I would continue to pray for your wife bearing in mind that God is merciful and concerned with the salvation of our souls.


Wasn’t there a lot of deals in the OT?


I think after many years of prayer for conversion, that God is waiting for my wife to make a move.


Does your wife have faith in God?


And He’s deliberately leaving her in pain until she does?


God can say no because He has a better plan. The secret of prayer, IMO, is to align our hearts and mind with God’s will. Do you think God does not want my wife to convert?


Not out of the question.


I hope I didn’t give the impression that I thought He wouldn’t want that. I have no doubt at all that conversion would lead to a celebration in heaven! And I take your point, but I think she would have to ‘speak’ with God about that herself and yes I can see how that might be an attempt to do a ‘deal’ with our Heavenly Father. Perhaps you should suggest it to her, He may even have put the thought in your mind in the first place! But He may not grant this request for reasons way beyond my understanding and she should be forewarned about that possibility. We are instructed not to test God with good reason, one of which that it might damage our faith if for some reason He does not acquiesce.

As for conversion, whilst in prayer I once had a disconnected thought which was “one of us has to change.” I laughed out loud at the thought that God would say such a thing, or that I would even monetarily contemplate the Creator of all things changing to suit me! That is possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever experienced. He plays the beautiful tune and we dance as best we can.


God doesn’t work that way theo. You are looking to blame God for your wife’s pain.

Forgive God for creating your wife, be at peace with God.


I’m sorry, but I don’t think God acts in this manner. He wants your wife to come home to His Church of her own desire, not as a condition for healing her, for then her conversion may not be what she wants but merely what she has to do to be healed.


There was, but two things we need to remember:

  1. OT was Old Covenant and NT is our New Covenant with Jesus. Jesus wasn’t really into people making bargains. He said to just ask the Father, and the Father would give you what you need - which might not be what you asked for - but no deal necessary.

  2. Also the Jewish people’s relationship with God grew and evolved over time, and there are stories in the OT such as Jephtha’s daughter (Judges 11:29-40) that suggest bargaining with God is really not a good idea and you’d be better off not doing that.


Christ answered this and said “you shall not put the Lord your God to the test”.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit