Offbeat: Atheist Converts After Mock Prayer to Win $1m Lottery is Answered

A lucky chance miracle?

A self-confessed atheist has become a believer after mocking God by sarcastically praying for his mother to win the lottery. However, his joke prayer was amazingly answered as the next day his mother won $1 million on the New York Lottery Sweet Million game.

Sal Bentivegna, 28, who did not previously believe in God, had sarcastically asked his mother to “ask your God for a million dollars”.

However, his mother Gloria Bentivegna, follows the Catholic faith, and staying true to her belief refused to ask God for such a thing.

Taking his joke further, Sal then prayed out aloud saying, “God, I don’t know if you’re real or not, but if you are there, please let my mother win a million dollars.”

He added, “If Jesus wants me to believe in him, that’s what he’ll do”.


The following day his mother bought a “Lotto Tree” of unscratched instant win tickets from [a] Church’s charity auction. Sal was then left absolutely stunned when he found out his mother had won a million.

Realizing that the odds of his mother winning were so farfetched, Sal has now become a firm believer.

He testified, “I can’t shrug off that Jesus had a hand in it.”

“No pun intended, but it was a Godsend,” he said.

Some perspective from mother:

Gloria Bentivegna, reflecting on what had happened, is thankful to God for her winnings, but even more thankful for her son’s conversion. She said: “’God performed two miracles, a true miracle.” [Christian Post]

I’m very happy for mother and son, and the story also provides some details I like – for instance, the mother refused to pray for a winning lotto ticket and seems to be happier about her son’s conversion than the money she won. Also, the son got exactly the amount he asked for – an interesting wrinkle.

That said, when God intervenes miraculously in people’s lives it’s normally not in the form of winning lotto tickets (think instead, deliverance from despair, pain, evil, death, etc).

So this story failed to make me into a lotto convert…



  • enness

    Just remember though — blessed are those who have not seen, and believed! :)

  • enness

    I’ve gotten answers like this after praying that were just too timely and too perfect to chalk up to coincidence, and so have people I know…never a cool million, but maybe someday. :)



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