The Prayer of Jabez
The Webster’s Dictionary says prayer is an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought.
Have you ever listened to little kids pray? Here are a few examples of what they sound like.
Dear God: Please send a new baby for Mommy. The new baby you sent last week cries too much. Debbie, age 7
Dear God: Who did you make smarter? Boys or girls? My sister and I want to know. Jimmy, age 6
Dear God: How many angels are there in heaven? I would like to be the first kid in my class to know the answer. Norma, age 8
Dear Lord: Thank you for the nice day today. You even fooled the TV weather man. Hank, age 7
Dear God: I need a raise in my allowance. Could you have one of your angels tell my father. Thank you. David, age 7
Dear God: This is my prayer. Could you please give my brother some brains. So far he doesn’t have any. Angela, age 8
Prayers come in all forms. There are long prayers, short prayers, prayers that are very specific and prayers that you have no idea where people are going with them.
There is one particular prayer that I want to talk to you today about. It is found in 1 Chronicles chapter 4. It is a prayer that was prayed by a man named Jabez. Some of you may have read it. Some of you may have not even known that it existed because it is in such an obscure place in the Bible.
The prayer of Jabez is mixed right in the middle of a Genealogy report. If you have your bibles, let’s read it before we continue.
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 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.
So, what do we know about this Jabez fellow? Let me give you a quick history lesson about him. Because we don’t know a whole lot.
He was a member of the honored nation of Israel.
He was a member of the Royal tribe of that nation. Not definitely stated, but he appears in a list of people from Judah.
He was a worshipper of the one and only true God. “God of Israel” — not God of any Pagan nation.
His birth was associated with peculiar and unusual sorrow. His name was given him by his mother, not by his father.
He was more honorable than his brothers.
He was a man of prayer.
He was an ambitious man. He desired more territory, greater influence, greater responsibility—all right and good in their place.
Now, that we know him a little bit. Let’s take a look at his prayer. There are four things that he prayed and they are very specific. For the next few minutes, I want us to look at each one and I want us to use this prayer as a model for you to pray in your life. I believe that God wants to take our prayer life to new levels. I believe that this prayer is a great model prayer for you to put into practice in your life.
The first thing Jabez prayed was...
1. Bless Me Lord
1. Bless Me Lord
Verse 10 - “Oh, that you would bless me...”
Jabez asked God for a blessing. What is a blessing? To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. So, what we are asking for is the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us.
22 The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.
What Jabez was asking for and what we should be asking for is wanting for ourselves nothing more and nothing less than what God wants for us.
When we seek God’s blessing as the ultimate value in life, we are throwing ourselves entirely into the river of His will and power and purposes for us. All our other needs become secondary to what we really want—which is to become wholly immersed in what God is trying to do in us, through us, and around us for His glory.
When we sincerely seek out God’s blessing, our life will become marked by miracles. We get out of the way and let God do what only He can do. You are praying for exactly what God desires.
Jabez’s name meant pain. The meaning of a name meant a lot back then. You carried that name with you and it followed you wherever you went. People thought that your name represented who you are. But Jabez knew that God had more for him than just pain. He wanted God to bless him in spite of what his name meant. He knew that God would bless him if we just asked.
2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
The only way that we will ever experience all that God has for us is by asking him to bless us. Think about all the blessings that you may miss out on because you didn’t ask for them. We need to ask everyday for God to bless us.
2. Enlarge My Territory
2. Enlarge My Territory
Here is a question for you to ask yourself. Are you thinking too small for what God wants to do in your life?
When Jabez prayed to enlarge my territory, he was thinking about more than just land. He was maybe thinking about influence in his life. The will that God wanted him to do. Jabez wanted God to give him more opportunities than just the plot of land that he had inherited.
And just like Jabez, we should want all that God has for us. And your territory could look different than the person sitting next to you. If you are a stay at home mom, you could ask God to give you favor in key relationships, multiply for his glory the influence of my household.
If you are a business man, you are asking God for more business. That is the territory that God has given you. You could ask God to allow you to minister to those that come in contact with you through that business. When we ask him to enlarge that opportunity, it brings God delight.
Our prayer should go something like this: O God, please expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for Your glory. Let me do more for You.
Some of you may be thinking, “my life is too full already, what would I do with more?”
But as your opportunities expand, your ability and resources supernaturally increase too.
It doesn’t matter what our gifts and abilities are, our calling is to do God’s work on earth. And when we begin asking for more influence and responsibility with which to honor Him, God will bring opportunities and people into your path. you can trust that God will never send someone to you whom you cannot help by His leading and strength. God always intervenes when you put His agenda before yours and go for it! If you pray for God to expand your borders, you will recognize His divine answer. And then you will have a front-row seat in a life of miracles.
3. Let Your Hand Be With Me
3. Let Your Hand Be With Me
Jabez prayed, “Let your hand be with me...”
Many of you, if not all of you, have probably heard the term “hand of God” or “hand of the Lord”. This is a biblical term for God’s power and presence in the lives of His people.
24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
In Acts, we read that the success of the church was because of the hand of God.
21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
Jabez was so certain that God’s hand upon him was necessary for blessing that he couldn’t imagine a life of honor without it.
A more specific New Testament description for God’s hand is “the filling of the Holy Spirit.” The church’s growth bears powerful witness to both the necessity and availability of the hand of God to accomplish the business of God.
God is watching and waiting for you to ask for the supernatural power He offers. We should pray everyday for God’s hand to be upon us. With God’s hand there is a move of the Holy Spirit working through our lives. We know that power is associated with the Holy Spirit.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There is power in the hand of God. We need God’s power working through us so that we can do the Father’s will.
4. Keep Me From Harm
4. Keep Me From Harm
You would think after everything Jabez has prayed so far that he would be through but he wasn’t. He had one more request. His request was for God to keep him from harm.
When we asked for God’s hand to be with us we were praying for supernatural power to work through our weakness. In asking God to keep us from harm, we are asking for supernatural help to protect us from Satan’s proven ability to make us lose.
Success brings with it greater opportunities for failure. As God continues to work in your life, the more you can expect to be under attack. If there is ever a time that you are not under attack, that would be a time to be concerned. That would mean that Satan isn’t concerned with you anymore.
You and I are redeemed and commissioned for the front lines. That is why it is so important that we pray, “keep us from harm.” We need God’s protection working in us, so that we can continue to do his will. We are in this battle for the Lord and we need to continue to fight to be who He wants us to be.
The best way to avoid sin is to avoid temptation. That is why we need to pray that God would keep us from harm. Jesus said in his prayer.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Through Christ we can declare victory over the enemy. That is why we need to declare everyday, “God, keep me from harm.” It is through Christ that we can live in triumph—not in temptation or defeat.
I love what the last sentence of verse 10 says. It says, “And God granted his request.”
The Message says it this way. “God gave him what he asked.”
We read in verse 9 that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Do you think that God like Jabez more than his brothers? I don’t believe so. But I do know one thing. Jabez asked of God and I believe that God favors those who ask. He holds back nothing from those who want and earnestly long for what He wants.
I want what God wants for my life. I ask for God to bless me, enlarge my territory, put his hand upon me, and keep me from harm. That is what I want for my life and I believe that as I walk in obedience with the Lord he will grant my request.
This reference to Jabez is a quick little stop in the middle of a bunch of names in the midst of a book and chapter that many of you never look at. But it teaches an endless truth. God blesses those who depend on Him. God blesses those who do not hesitate to ask.
Remember, Jabez’s name means pain. He did not allow a painful past to limit his future. Him being more honorable than his brothers is a testimony of the man’s life and character. The life of Jabez shows that God’s special blessing and protection do not come automatically. Blessings are a result of our devotion to God and His purpose, and they are received through bold and sincere prayers. In order to receive God’s blessings, we must have faith in God.
This morning I want you to begin using this prayer as a guide for your life and believe that God wants to do some amazing things in and through you if you will just ask.