Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Problem with Praying Proverbs 30:7-9

While reading Francais Chan's CrazyLove a few years ago, I started watching his YouTube videos. He's a funny guy, a radical guy, and a guy who obviously loves the Lord and loves sharing His Word with others. One day, I stumbled across this video, titled 'I dare you to pray this'.

In the video (in case you didn't go watch it), Chan dares viewers to pray Proverbs 30:7-9 which says this:

7 Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 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.

He talks about how people often pray that God would give them an abundance - that the Lord would so bless them with more than enough so that they would always be secure. While I understand the heart of that prayer, Proverbs 30:7-9 blows that prayer of false security out of the water. We don't need a hefty special savings account to keep us "safe," we need God's provision. We need God's faithfulness. We need God's grace.

So, being the daring Christian that I am (not!), I prayed this prayer. I kept praying it. I wrote it in my journal, I memorized it, I shared it with others. And just recently, I have really seen the fruits of this earnest prayer.

Firstly, Chan doesn't really hit on this, but the first request in this passage is for the Lord to "keep falsehood and lies far from me". If you haven't noticed a trend in my blog posts or in my speech or in conversation with me, I have (by God's design) become a Truth-seeker. I hear things or read things or see things and start to wonder if they really deliver God's Truth. It is a bit annoying, because I feel like I am cautious of everything. But, that's a different post. This is about the second part of that prayer.

Over and over again since I started praying Proverbs 30:7-9, I have experienced those "oh crap" moments... where the numbers in the bank account and the sum of bills due are so close it hurts. I have had those moments when I can't see what's ahead - I just know the here and now - and the anxiety sets in. Blake and I are in one of those times now - wondering what to do next and how to pay for it.

And I remember these verses, and remember... I asked for this. I asked to be given JUST enough.

The problem with praying Proverbs 30:7-9 is that God answers it faithfully. The problem is that you have to begin to rely on God instead of yourself, your bank account, your paycheck. The problem is that the tests will come when the numbers are so tight. The problem is that the extra you are given is miraculously just enough to pay for an unexpected bill. The problem is that you can't get a job because of student teaching, and then God provides an abundance of babysitting and dog-sitting opportunities to help ease the stress. The problem is that you wait and wait and wait to sign a lease, and then find out that God has opened a door to live in a big old beautiful house FOR FREE. Then that place gets hit by a nasty tornado. Then His church offers to help rebuild it.

The problem is that God becomes your currency. The problem is that God becomes provider. The problem is that God becomes responsible for the bills. He becomes the source, you become the manager. You become the "What now, Lord?" pray-er who diligently seeks God's direction in handling money. You become the one who budgets wisely and heeds financial endeavors with caution, waiting patiently for the "OK" from God.

It may seem foolish or irresponsible. But, God is the most responsible money-manager I know. He is the most trustworthy person I know because He knows all and sees all. He has already made provisions for challenges we haven't even faced yet.

I dare you to pray Proverbs 30:7-9.

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