Daily Devotion: Wise Prayer

Proverbs 30:8-9, Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, “Who is Yahweh?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

This appears to me to be an Old Testament formula of praying the fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Luther explains this petition as praying to recognise what our daily needs are and to receive them with thanksgiving, and I would add to remember from whom our daily needs come from, lest we forget who our Source is.

As this text is from wisdom literature, we must first recognise this as a wise prayer. It is a wise prayer to pray for truth on our lips, to be content with what God has given us (“give me neither poverty nor riches”), and to pray God provide exactly what we need—nothing more, nothing less—lest we forget who God is. By forgetting who He is, I do not mean—and I do not think Solomon meant it this way either—utterly forgetting about God, that is, that He exists; but rather: forgetting who God is.

God is the God of truth who cares for His creation and His creatures, which includes you and me. Solomon prays for exactly what He needs—nothing more, nothing less—lest He becomes poor, whether materially or spiritually, and profanes the name of God. We should all be so wise to pray such a prayer. The poor want to become rich and the rich are afraid of poverty (indeed, even middle-class status).

Whether rich or poor, all receive what they need from God. Many poor people live their entire lives poor and die richly in Christ. Many rich people live their entire lives rich and die absent of Christly wealth. We should all emulate this prayer, desiring neither poverty nor wealth, but desiring only that we know who God is and keep His name holy on our lips and in our actions.

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