What a Devil Art Thou, Poverty!

Last week one of the DOVE Canada pastors, Lynn Ironside, led a prayer and intercession team to the nation of Columbia. It is a country that is filled with abject poverty and this was one of the issues the prayer team was led to address in prayer. Here is Lynn’s post in which she quotes Walt Whitman on poverty…

“I do not know how to express what I experienced today as we took a gondola up to the top of the mountain in Medellin. Perhaps Walt Whitman’s quote is worth sharing … “What a devil art thou, Poverty! How many desires – how many aspirations after goodness and truth – how many noble thoughts, loving wishes toward our fellows, beautiful imaginings thou hast crushed under thy heel, without remorse or pause!”

And so today we did what may, to some seem trivial when you consider the desperate need, but which I believe to be of great worth – we prayed for the poor of Medellin. Thankfully there has been some improvements in these remote communities on the hillsides overlooking the city but there is still so much to be done. If you would – please join us in praying that Colombia would rise up and take a stand to end the horrors of children being sold or lured into the sex trade.” 

Columbia is a Catholic nation so why is it so poor? The answer is found in what has been taught by the Catholic Church. I noticed many years ago on my many trips to Brazil that these nations with catholic influence had no middle class. It was only the rich and the poor. How did this happen? In a recent conversation with a South American immigrant who is now a pastor in Florida, I ask him why? His answer confirmed my suspicion.

Quite simply the Catholic Church taught that it was more spiritual to be poor. So the Catholics stayed poor. In his book Find Your Promised Land, Korean businessman Israel Kim targets this incorrect thinking taught by the Catholic Church.

One of the lies taught about resources is that holy people should be poor. This concept of poverty and piety was developed during the Dark Ages by monastic orders of Catholic monks who were reacting to the audacious wealth, greed and corruption of the Roman Church. In those circumstances it may have seemed right, but in truth it is a curse that has kept many talented and anointed people from fulfilling their God-given destiny. The idea that poverty is a sign of humility and devotion to the Lord is simply false. If it were true the poor within the “10-40 Window” would have no need for evangelization.

Many Christians will say God is good, but because they have always struggled financially, they have developed a mindset that God is stingy and is holding back blessings. There are two sides of this coin. We must be convinced that poverty and lack is a curse and we must be convinced that God is a loving, abundant provider.



Kim, Israel. Find your promised land : getting through your wilderness, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 2009).


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