TRY THIS PRAYER ON FOR SIZE! The society we live in today is very materialistic. We believe more is better and those who have less are to be pitied. Over all families living today build bigger houses and fill them with more stuff than any generation before us. We also accumulate more automobiles and vehicles of all kinds (boats, snow mobiles, etc.); fill our wardrobes with all the clothing we can stuff in; and for good measure rent storage units to handle all the extra “stuff.” Do we see a problem with this?
Hear the prayer of the writer of Proverbs 30, “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 NIV).
Most of us would readily pray the first part of that prayer, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me.” After all if God doesn’t allow us to be tempted to lie maybe we won’t lie. On the other hand we should model our lives so that we learn and commit to not lying every time all the time and God can help us with that. But how many of us really excitedly pray the second part of that prayer, “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” If you are praying that prayer maybe that explains why you haven’t won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or the lottery (smile). But it might also explain why you aren’t wearing rags or going hungry (praise the Lord). But for a true gut check really take that prayer seriously and think about your own praying. Would you really be OK with not having poverty or riches but just having the things that provide for basic daily living like food, water, clothing? I am reminded that the Hebrew people in the wilderness weren’t too happy about that even when the food fell from heaven and all they had to do was pick it up off the ground, drink the water God provided from the rock and they had clothes that didn’t wear out. Could we be satisfied with that?
Remember the last part of that prayer, “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.” Too often we see people, even Christians, accumulate too much of the world’s wealth (money, land, possessions, etc.) and their hearts turn from following God. They probably would never say, “Who is the Lord?” but their actions indicate the reality of that condition in their hearts. That is heartbreaking. Too much “stuff” and not “enough of God” (you know what I mean) invites disaster. In contrast probably none of us wants to be so destitute that we are tempted to steal to survive and thus fail in our faith in God to provide for us and so we dishonor the name of God. Our time of prayer should not be just a time to offer a courtesy call to God but rather a time that faces the real issues of values in our lives. And as we reflect just maybe God can open our eyes to what those real values should be.