Today I received a devotion in my email. It was the prayer of Agur in Proverbs 30. If you’re like me you have never heard of Agur and the prayer he prayed. In Proverbs 30:7-9 he prays, “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my Lord.”
Read this and then read it again.
Let it sink in, deep.
Is he really praying what I think he is praying? Should this be our prayer as well? Can it be our prayer if we live in abundance? Surely it is not a prayer we can really mean. The first request is reasonable, “remove far from me falsehood and lying”. I think we can all agree that is a good prayer to pray and one that God desires for us to pray.
Then there is the second request, “give me neither poverty or riches”. How seriously do we pray this prayer for ourselves? If we pray it, will God grant it?
Most applications I have read about passages similar to this will give a response such as the one below. Please read the devotion below sent by my church to understand my response.
Would truly praying this prayer leave us with being thankful for what we have and saying “no” to one purchase we would normally make this week?
I understand it’s a lot harder prayer to pray when we have so much. It is a prayer prayed often by many of God’s people who rely on Him for their daily needs. We consider them poor, but perhaps God considers them rich.
Luke 6:20 “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
Proverbs 16:19 “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
After reading this prayer over and over again I keep coming to the same conclusion. This prayer is really asking God, keep me away from telling lies, and keep me away from being rich. Please just give me my basic needs.
How did Jesus himself teach us how to pray? “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matthew 6:11 ESV)
It makes me wonder if we really should be praying, “only give me what I need for today, nothing more and nothing less.” What would happen if we actually prayed this? I am currently reading “Kisses from Katie” and it is an amazing true story of a 19 year old girl who left everything behind to follow God and love others. After living in Uganda for over a year and relying on God for her needs and the needs of her children she was caring for, she came back to the United States in order to get a degree. She accounts how she terribly missed relying and trusting on God for things we don’t even think twice about, food, clean water, education.
What has been the biggest shock to my system, the huge disconnect, is that I have stepped out of my reliance on God to meet my needs. I miss Jesus. He hasn’t disappeared, of course, but is feel so far from Him because my life is actually functioning without Him. In Uganda I was so physically “poor”, I was completely dependent on God and spiritually wealthy as ever. (Davis 121)
This is how I want to live and I am realizing that this is my prayer now in the very real and literal sense: give me neither riches nor poverty, only what I need for today.