Not long ago, during one of the discussions about frugal living we had here, I was asked to clarify what I mean by saying that "God will provide". I see it as a good and fair question, and will begin by saying what I did not mean.
Did I mean to say that we should fall back and do nothing, and God will provide the means for living an extravagant, indulgent, have-it-all lifestyle? No. Did I mean that we should rely on welfare and charity? Again, no.
How do I think God will provide then, in response to our sincere prayers?
I believe He will act on our hearts to minimize our desire for material things, and to help us gain more clarity and realize those things won't make us happy, thus enabling us to live without them contentedly.
He will give us insight and wisdom, to critically examine our lives and see what things can be weeded out, even though we previously thought there's absolutely no way we can live without them.
He will provide us with creativity, to seek for alternative means of getting by just fine without excessive shopping and luxuries we have come to see matter-of-factly; when we truly need something, He will give us the resourcefulness to make it, swap for it, save for it, buy it second-hand, look for the best deal, or just do without for a while.
In these ways, and in countless other ways, God has provided for me and for many other people I know. I never worked much, and always had a small income, yet I came through college with savings, because God provided for me – not by giving me more money, but by helping me to get my spending habits under control, and to think twice before buying anything, as opposed to waving a credit card like a battle flag, and working days and nights to pay debts I have accumulated buying things I don't really need.
It would be lovely to hear how God has provided for you.