Summary: Agur was a mysterious man, mentioned in Proverbs who prayed a humble prayer that should be a model for all Christians.
The Prayer of Agur
Introduction: ABC news in Alabama reported this week that Piedmont High school in Piedmont Alabama would no longer say prayers over the loud speakers at football games because they received a letter from the atheist organization called Freedom from Religion Foundation, out of Wisconsin that read in part that legal action would be taken based on the perception of a 'school sponsored prayer' The school couldnt afford a legal battle so they stopped praying over the loud speaker but during the next football game, amazingly hundreds of Piedmont High school students, parents, and fans walked out of the stands and stepped out onto the field and they began to pray anyway. The FFRF claim to have sent 800 letters to schools threatening legal action if prayer is not stopped! What's ironic is they don't realize they are trying to ban the only thing that saves them.
In recent years a lot of public attention has been focused on prayer. Our courts have banned prayer from public schools, public functions, and public display. And as we've seen in Piedmont this week, it hasn't stopped people from praying and it never will.
The question is what are you praying for? The focus of this sermon; to examine what our prayer priorities are.
We tend to pray selfishly, treating God as a divine pop machine, instead of a dollar we put in a prayer and expect our desire to be given to us in return.
Christian Cartoonist Bill Keene, the creator of the cartoon 'Family Circus' had a cartoon that depicted several angels in Heaven receiving prayers, and suddenly one of them shouted “Quick, get the big Guy, I want him to hear this. Here's someone who isn't asking for anything!”
A.C. Dixon said: "When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence we get what eloquence can do. And so on. But when we rely upon prayer, we get what God cand do."
There is only one prayer in Proverbs, the book of wisdom. It is the prayer of Agur. Agur is mysterious. We don't know a lot about Agur. We don't know when He lived or which tribe He came from. But we do know that what He wrote was indicted by the Holy Ghost and was meant to be kept on record. Agur prays with such integrity that it's considered to be a model prayer for all believers.
“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.”
In a culture that wants to hear and tell lies and are obsessed with who has what and how much they have, this prayer is a breath of fresh air. Our culture is very self-centered but Agur's prayer is God-centered.
Transition: Agur asks for two things. But before He mentions what they are He asks that God would not keep them from him before He dies.
Agur reveals his urgency
“Do not refuse me before I die”
When we pray, we should consider that it might be our last prayer. Because obviously there is no time after life, to do the things that we should have done during life.
Ill. Norman, Ok police detective Wayne Martin & his wife Susan were headed to a family re-union in Arkansas one Sunday morning in May of 2002 but they never made it. As they were crossing the Arkansas River on the I-40 bridge, unbeknown to them, a captain of a barge had a seizure and hit the bridge causing the whole thing to collapse killing them and 11 others.
Imagine that! One moment they were looking forward to a day of family fun, catching up with friends and family, havingbfood and games, and the next moment they were gone. Surely they never knew on their way to Arkansas that they would shortly be standing in te presence of Almighty God! James said “why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” I sometimes think about what a friend or loved one who passed away unexpectedly, was doing the day before. Not knowing that the next day they would be gone.
Transition: Before His vapor of a life disappears, Agur knows He can't escape the first death, so he pleads with God to keep him away from the things that would bring him closer to the second death.