Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. ~Proverbs 30:7-9
This passage is attributed in Proverbs 30:1 to Agur, the son of Jakeh. The writer declares that he has asked God for two specific things. But interestingly, he then asks for four:
- that God will not refuse his requests
- that the Lord would keep deception and lies out of his daily life
- enough financial resources to be comfortable, without being wealthy, and
- enough food to be satisfied, without going hungry
Was Agur right to ask God for these things?
Others in the scriptures have been invited to petition God, with the assurance that their prayers will be answered. In 1 Kings 3:5, for example, the Lord told Solomon to ask boldly for whatever he wanted:
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
And in Mark 11:23-24, Jesus explains to his disciples that when they approach prayer properly, they can ask God for anything:
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Agur’s second request also aligns with the Lord’s will. In Psalm 34:12-13, the word teaches that lies have no place in the life of one who would serve and please God:
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
For his third and fourth requests, Agur focuses on two very practical matters: Food and finances. His prayer might be paraphrased, “Lord, please supply me with enough – not too much, and not too little.” In Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, Solomon muses about both topics, concluding that God does, indeed, supply people with their daily needs:
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
Jesus, too, addressed the daily needs of people. In Matthew 6:11, as he taught his disciples how to pray, he encouraged them to ask for provision:
Give us today our daily bread.
And in Luke 12:22-31, Jesus explains that your heavenly Father already knows all your needs – and is prepared to meet them:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
What is it that you are asking God for today? If your requests are similar to Agur’s, it would seem you have good reason to expect that your prayers will be answered in the affirmative.