There is no doubt that all of us are going through some of the most stressful times of our lives. You also need to know that you are not alone. There are countless examples in the Bible of how God delivered His people from troubled times. We’re going to look at a man who was also in a tough situation and he offered up a prayer to God.
Let’s look at 1
Chronicles 4:9-10. 9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10Jabez 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 passage is known as the “Prayer of Jabez” but before we can truly understand this passage, I believe we have to learn about the man. Just who was Jabez?
There are very few references in the Bible about Jabez. Some refer to a man and others refer to the name of possible cities. In verse 9, we see that Jabez was described as more honorable than his brothers. Why?
Well we know he is listed in the lineage of the tribe of Judah, which was the most numerous and familiar tribe.
In 1 Chronicles 2:55, his descendants were listed as scribes and Kenites. So many feel that Jabez was also a Jewish scribe and whose family could be traced back to Zipporah, Moses’ first wife. So is that what made him so honorable?
Let’s dig a little deeper. From verse 10 We find that Jabez was a praying man. Let’s read his prayer again.
“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.”
What did you think of Jabez’ prayer? Was it a simple prayer? It sure was, short and to the point. And what was the result? God answered it and blessed him.
Maybe there’s a lesson here for our own prayer life. Keep it simple. We don’t need to taint our prayers with fancy words. Just lay it out there for Jesus.
There is one thing that I believe Jabez had that made his simple prayer so powerful, it was that he had faith and he lived a life to serve God by doing good for others. That’s what made Jabez more honorable than his brothers. It’s how he lived.
Do you think God would have answered and blessed a man who wasn’t faithful to Him?
Many think that The Prayer of Jabez is about asking for prosperity. Well it might be but not in the way a lot of people take it to be. Let’s look at what he asked for.
1. He prayed that God would bless him. Anything wrong with that? Absolutely not, isn’t that what we all pray for. Sure it is.
2. Enlarge my territory. Ok this one might be where the people get the prosperity part. But think about where Jabez was? He was surrounded by evil tribes. So by praying for God to enlarge his territory I believe that Jabez was asking God to drive out evil from his life. Just not in his land but in his whole life, and his heart as well so that God could grow more in him. And for that to happen look at what he asks for next.
3. Let Your Hand Be With Me. Jabez was asking for God to walk with him, guide him and direct him daily like a Father and a young son going for a walk in the evening. Hand in Hand Together. Don’t we all want and need that especially right now?
Finally, 4. Keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.
I believe that Jabez is not just asking for physical protection for himself as it might appear but so that he could be free from harm to do more for others. I believe The Prayer of Jabez isn’t a selfish prayer for prosperity but it’s a prayer for others.
Is that how you and I pray? Jabez was an honorable man not because of what he owned and not because of his social status, but because he was a man of faith, a man of prayer, and a man of service.
Isn’t that the kind of person God needs in our world today? Absolutely. Are you turning to God in your life? Or are you looking for answers from the government and other places?
Jabez was surrounded by evil and he prayed for God’s blessing and protection so he could serve others.
I know the world could use a whole lot more people praying and doing for others at this time. God loves you and wants the world to know that He loves them too. Have confidence that God is in control, so we can reach out to those around us in love and good deeds. Encourage one another, call somebody, text somebody.
Whatever and however you can, just reach out to those around you and tell them that you love them and so does God. We all need it.
*Steve Gill is the pastor of Turon Community Church in Turon.