Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the bestselling book, Prayer of Jabez. It’s about an honorable man in the Old Testament who cried out to God, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain” (1 Chronicles 4:10). We like prayers that ask for more influence, impact, and opportunity, don’t we? But I doubt you’ve heard about the prayer of Agur. Agur was a simple man with two simple, yet powerful, requests.
First, Agur prayed for integrity. He did not want to live a life of duplicity. Notice he didn’t pray, “God, please help me to tell the truth.” He prays that God will keep opportunities for falsehood far away, out of his reach. He prayed that God would keep him from temptation and sin. Second, Agur prayed for just enough – not too much lest pride and self-sufficiency overtake him, not too little lest he be tempted to steal food for his family. Agur prayed for that balance between dependence and desperation. He didn’t want a full barn so he could eat, drink, and be merry. He prayed for “daily bread.” Daily bread kept Agur thankful to God for today’s provision and dependent on God for tomorrow’s.
I love the prayer of Agur. His desire for integrity and dependence is the crying need of a culture bent on doing whatever it takes to get ahead and saturated in self-dependence. Thankfully, we Christians do not have to be influenced by our culture.
Heavenly Father, we wonder why we have such trouble with sin when we keep it so close. We wonder why we are not closer to You as we view our materialistic, overflowing lives. Wake us up! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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