What to pray re: wealth

I’ve been reading Proverbs with my boys these last two months and we’ve finally made it to chapter 30, where we came to a simple but surprising prayer.

wealth

Agur, the son of Jakeh prays:

“Two things I ask of you, 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.”

(Proverbs 30:7-9)

His first request is that God might keep falsehood and lies far from him – what a great prayer, especially in our age of social media and image crafting!

His second request is about wealth. What’s surprising is that he doesn’t pray that God would make him rich. Why not? Money is a good thing and surely wealth is a blessing from God. What’s the problem?

The answer is that Agur can see two dangers related to wealth: as a poor man he might be tempted to steal and dishonour God; as a rich man he might forget God.

Some of us at church are struggling financially and face the risk of stealing (or dishonesty in our finances) and therefore dishonouring God. We are well aware of the need to ask God for our daily bread.

Others of us (perhaps most of us?) have to deal with the problem of having too much money. We have our daily bread and more. Our danger is forgetting God on account of wealth.  But what might this look like in practice?

Maybe it’s being more excited about the growth of our savings than the growth of God’s kingdom. Maybe it’s a passion for the next investment property rather than the next visitor to Life. Maybe it’s an enthusiasm for the promotion and the pay rise rather than enthusiasm for us getting rid of sin and growing in godliness. There are many ways that wealth can cause us to forget God.

So what should we do? One thing is to pray like Agur that God wouldn’t give us too much that we forget him.  This might be one of those prayers we say only half wishing God would answer it!

Another thing we can do is to give away wealth when it gets a hold of us. Giving generously, whatever the amount, is one way of saying to ourselves, our families and to God that he matters to us more than anything, and we don’t want any wealth to come between us and him. This is a hard thing, and worth praying for God’s help in for us (and our families).

So what will your prayer be today? Can you pray the prayer of Agur? Can you give away your wealth? I know that it’s something for me (and my boys) to grow in.

“Two things I ask of you, 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.”

(Proverbs 30:7-9)