2. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: The Prayer of Jabez
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”
This two-sentence prayer (or one depending on which Bible translation you read) has become my mantra. Years ago, I attended what my church called a “Deep End” workshop. There, we were challenged to go “deeper” into Scripture to discover God’s Word. I’ve pushed most of the knowledge learned during those classes to the recesses of my mind, but I’ll never forget the teacher going down a bunny trail to tell us about the Prayer of Jabez. I’d never heard of Jabez or his prayer, and my teacher’s confidence in its life-changing ability had me intrigued.
1 Chronicles is not considered a popular book of the Bible because the first nine chapters list the family trees of the Hebrew tribes, beginning with Adam and descending for thousands of years. It’s a catalogue of unpronounceable names making a confusing mental map of the family genealogies. Now, God’s reason for documenting them is important. We (God’s people) had a Savior coming and needed to recognize Him when He arrived. Even still, I look at those names with a brush of the eye because they’re a jumbled mess to my brain.
This is why Jabez and his prayer stand out amongst the 500-plus names. He caused a break in the pattern.
Scripture says Jabez was an honorable man, meaning he was well-respected, held in high regard, and had great ethical conduct. I imagine he was a great patriarch, a wonderful husband, a kind father, and an honest businessman. God heard this noble man’s cry and gave him what he asked for—blessings and the enlarging of his territory, which I believe can be viewed also as his influence… his reach.
The sentences about Jabez got me thinking, then a few days after the Deep End class while in the checkout line of a thrift store, I spied Bruce Wilkerson’s book, The Prayer of Jabez (Breaking Through to the Blessed Life) on the shelf next to me.
You better believe I snatched it up and read it immediately. If God placed that coffee table book in my sightline only days after first hearing about this prayer, I knew it was something I needed to pay attention to.
I began to pray, “Oh, Lord, bless me indeed as I follow You and enlarge my territory for You. Keep Your powerful hand over me, then I won’t have any pain.” And God has granted me with blessings and opportunities I didn’t know I wanted.
Try it. Honor God as Jabez did and ask for blessings and territory with boldness. Watch and see what happens, then give glory to our faithful God. Oh, and get your hands on that book if you can. Read for yourself about Jabez and his daring, yet simple prayer.
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