Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Do you pray wisely? Do you pray fervently? You reveal your heart by your prayers. Life is short, and pleasing God should be your greatest ambition. Only a few men use their lives well in pursuing this noblest goal. Agur expressed himself strongly to God for two crucial factors in living a life to honor God. Admitting the brevity of life, and confessing his great need, he prayed aggressively for these two important things.
His prayer was not long, for content and fervency are more valuable than length. God rejects the vain repetitions and pagan nature of the Rosary (Matt 6:7-8). Though Agur had other needs, he knew the supreme priority of spiritual blessings. His first request was directly spiritual, and his second was to submit his carnal needs to it. If you always seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, he will take care of the rest (Matt 6:33).
What did Agur request? He first asked God to save him from vanity and lies (Pr 30:8). He begged for deliverance from the foolish and profitless ideas of men and the empty and worthless life this world offers. He asked the Lord to keep him from believing the deceitful lies of men. He knew that worldly opinions and activities were vain and vexing (Ps 119:113; Ecc 1:1-3; 12:8; Matt 6:24; I Tim 4:8; II Tim 3:1-5; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17).
What did Agur request? He then asked God to give him only convenient and modest success (Pr 30:8). He wanted to avoid both poverty and wealth, knowing that each brought its own set of temptations and trials (Pr 30:9). He did not pray against both for the carnal difficulties each could bring, but rather for their effect on His love of God. Riches could puff up his mind and turn him away from God (Pr 18:11; 28:11; I Tim 6:6-10), and poverty could lead him to steal and disgrace God’s name (Pr 1:10-19; 6:30-31).
These two requests were very wise and noble. Agur did not use prayer to satisfy his lusts, as most men do when they pray (Jas 4:3). He sought the glory of God, the truth, and the spiritual good of his soul, even if it meant sacrificing some success. As in Solomon’s case, obtaining wisdom to please God was more important than riches (I Kgs 3:5-13). As with Moses, reproach with God’s people was better than sinful pleasures (Heb 11:24-26).
Consider Agur’s aggressive prayer. First, he requested the things of the Lord. He did not merely suggest an idea or propose a thought; he demanded the blessing, like Jacob long before him (Gen 32:24-28). He was intensely serious about these requests, for he knew they were holy petitions. He then confessed his definite mortality, appealing to the immortal God for a speedy answer before his short life would be over (Ps 90:10-12). His prayer surely worked, for it was fervent in application and righteous in content (Jas 5:16).
Do you pray more for carnal things or spiritual things? When did you last pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5), a single heart to fear God (Ps 86:11), the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), God to make you keep His precepts (Ps 119:35-37), or the Lord to expose your errors (Ps 139:23-24)? If loving and pleasing God is your highest priority, you will have spiritual prayer requests. If you put spiritual requests first, God in heaven will take care of the rest.
When did you last wrestle with God for these things, refusing to take no for an answer? Importunate and persistent prayers get answers; comfortable and quick prayers of convenience do not (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18). May the Holy Spirit of prayer convict you to greater praying and assist your efforts to do it (Rom 8:26-27).