Prayer of Agur

Prayer of Agur

Recently a friend of mine pointed me to a prayer in Proverbs 30, verses 7 through 9.  He affectionately referred to it as “the prayer of Agur.”  Now I must admit that I am usually very reluctant to follow trends and remembering that a few years ago every single church in America seemed to be doing the prayer of Jabez study, I shrugged my shoulders and filed it away in the “look at it if I have time” file.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the prayer of one of the writers of the Proverbs that could not be misconstrued in any way.  Now I am not saying that the Prayer of Jabez is a bad prayer; obviously, it is a prayer of Scripture.  I noticed it turning into a Christian-type of mantra over the course of time, where Christians would repeat it every day; not as if they were repeating Scripture but as if they were trying to conjure up the same results.  It draws our attention to biblical texts that are prescriptive and descriptive.  Descriptive texts are those that explain what was taking place–inspired just as much as the rest of the Bible, inerrant of course.  But describing the acts of another person is not the same as prescribing it for all Christians.  The betrayal by Judas, the doubts of Thomas, and the insolence of Peter are just a few examples.

Prescriptive texts are universal in their application.  God calls us to the same action.

Look at the words of Agur, one of the minor writers in the Proverbs: “7 There are two things, Lord, I want you to do for me before I die: 8 Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich. Give me just what I need.  9 If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you; if I don’t have enough, I might steal and disgrace your name.”

Do you see what he was asking?  He was not praying to be rich.  He was not praying to be famous.  He was not asking God for as much wisdom as Solomon, who wrote the majority of the Proverbs.  He was praying for satisfaction.  Make me neither rich nor poor, Lord; neither fame nor fortune.  He was not asking for instant popularity or notoriety.  He was not asking in the vein of “name it and claim it.”  Agur prayed the realist’s prayer—“Lord give me enough bread to satisfy me; provide for me enough money that will take care of my needs.”

It has quickly become one of my favorite prayers of the Bible.  Lord, do not allow me to fall in love with those things you have provided for me.  You see it there in verse 9 when he says so that I don’t lose focus on the provider and focus only on the provision.

Now this book needs to be published; someone needs to write the Prayer of Agur, but I doubt that it would be a best seller.  Every one wants to be rich and famous, even Christians, but the difference between success and satisfaction is a profound one.  There are many successful people who commit suicide; whose lives fall apart; whose families disintegrate.  But satisfied people rest in the realization that what they have is a gift from God.  Try praying the prayer of Agur for a couple of days; your situation may not change but I can promise you that your heart will.