March 21, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on December 28, 2014.  Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“God-Centered Prayer”

Proverbs 30:7-9

“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.”

This being one of the most famous prayers in the Bible, it has a staying power in our minds and hearts because it is so eloquently expressed.  At a glance, its logic can seem acceptable and noble to even an unbeliever.  It’s about being content to live in moderation, isn’t it?  About not being greedy and wanting too much, but at the same time having one’s basic needs be met: a reasonable standard of living.

Yet a second look reveals that the beauty of the prayer comes mainly, not from its practical wisdom for life but from the heart of the one who is praying.  For at its core, the prayer is completely God-centered.  The author of this prayer is not asking God that he may not have too much or too little because, not being super ambitious yet not wanting to be uncomfortable, he believes if he just has enough, he would be satisfied with life.  His motivation for not wanting riches is connected with his desire not to forget God or fall into the danger of becoming independent of him.  His wanting to avoid poverty is connected to a godly fear that if he did fall into such a state, he may end up, in his weakness, doing something to dishonor God.

The writer asks God for two things: that God keeps falsehood and lies from him; and that God gives him neither poverty nor riches.  Yet why is it that we so often focus on the second without paying attention to the first?  The second idea is more developed, but the first is also important.  We may have often prayed the second half of the prayer, but have we as often prayed the first?  How important is it to us that falsehood and lies are kept far from us?  And what relation does this have to wanting neither poverty nor riches?

The key is not so much the connection to a standard of living but once again the heart.  The heart of the one who loves God and longs to honor him is a heart that has a passion for truth.  In the prayer of the very one who asks that falsehood be kept far from him, we can see a purity of heart.  Perhaps he was someone like Nathanael of whom Jesus would later say, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

As we meditate on this prayer today, can we think about the heart expressed through the prayer more than the actual request?  Can we ask God today, not so much for a moderate standard of living, but for the heart of this man who loved the Lord honestly, with a purity, sincerity and truth?  

Prayer: Father, “keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 8

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