The Prayer of Jabez
We’re kicking off a new series of messages today that we’re calling, “Let’s Get to Work.” I believe that God has brought us all together here at Farm Hill Church for a purpose. And I believe that our ultimate purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God. I believe that the circumstances that have brought us together are not the result of random chance or coincidence. I believe they are part of a divine plan. I believe they are part of a divine set of blueprints that God has prepared for us that He is going to begin to unveil and reveal to us. I believe that, as a church, as a body of Christ, God has a job for us to do and a place for us to fill in the Kingdom of God. And each one of you individually has a role to fill within the body of Christ so that we can take what God has designed for us on the blueprints and continue to build His Kingdom right here in Farm Hill. I believe what God is saying to us as a body of Christ right now is that it is time for us to make up our minds and say, “Let’s Get to Work.”
We’re going to begin this morning with a message on prayer. I believe that whatever we set out to do or build for God, we must make sure that prayer is an essential part of the foundation. Now there are many good examples of prayers throughout the Bible that we could have picked from for this message. But we chose one that maybe is not as well known or preached on as often as some of the others, but I believe it is the one that God has on the blueprint for today. We’re going to talk this morning about the Prayer of Jabez. So if you have your Bible, I want you to turn along with me to 1 Chronicles Chapter 4.
1 Chronicles Chapters 1 through 9 presents the longest and most detailed genealogy in the Bible. It starts with Adam and goes all the way through King David’s grandchildren, covering over 3,000 years of Israel’s history. And there are many important and recognized names in the list like Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, and Solomon. And it is mainly just a long list of so-and-so begot so-and-so. But in the middle of the list of names that are difficult to pronounce there are two verses about a man who is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. A man who is not remembered along with the great patriarchs of the Bible. But in the middle of nine chapters of genealogy, the author of the book of 1 Chronicles pauses to give this man special recognition for a prayer that he prayed. This man is named Jabez.
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
Jabez Called a Man of Constant Sorrow
The name Jabez literally means “he will cause pain.”
Names were very significant in ancient Hebrew culture.
Names we’re almost prophetic in a sense.
Apparently, his mother named him Jabez because of the difficulty she faced during his birth.
Everytime Jabez heard his name, he was reminded of his supposed destiny.
Do you have a nickname or have you ever had a nickname?
Have you been labeled as something all your life?
Have you ever been told you’re not good enough, you’ll never amount to anything, you’ll never measure up?
Everytime someone called Jabez’s name, it was a reminder of what someone else thought his destiny would be.
But Jabez didn’t allow his name, or how others thought of him, to define his purpose.
He broke free from the stigma of his name and fulfilled his God-given purpose.
Don’t let the failures of your past or the curses that others have spoken over you define your present and your future.
God doesn’t see your past, He sees your potential and the plans He has for your life.
Jabez Called on the God of Israel
Jabez prayed to be blessed indeed
His prayer in the original Hebrew language is interesting because the same word for “bless” is used twice.
In Hebrew, Jabez literally prayed, “bless, bless me.”
In other words, he said, “bless me, and then after You’ve blessed me Lord, go ahead and bless me some more.”
He said, “God I don’t want just a single portion of Your blessing, I want a double portion of Your blessing.”
We need to pray for God’s blessing.
Do you know that it is ok to pray for the blessings of God on your life?
It must be ok because we read that God answered Jabez’s prayer.
Jesus came so that we might have life and have life more abundantly.
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Many are blessed but they are not blessed indeed.
They are blessed with things like money, popularity, charisma, and notoriety, but they are so dissatisfied with what they have because they always want more or want to outdo someone else that they are not blessed indeed.
Blessings will become a curse when we make an idol of the blessing.
We are truly blessed when we desire the Bless’er more than the blessing.
And we truly fulfill our purpose for being blessed by God when we use it as an opportunity to be a blessing to others.
Jabez prayed for enlarged territory
Jabez asked for success in the conquest of the Promised Land.
Jabez is asking God to expand the borders of his inheritance.
But Jabez was probably also asking for God to increase his influence.
In 1 Chronicles 2:55 there is a city mentioned by the name of Jabez that many scholars believe was named after the same Jabez were talking about here. This was a city scribes where the law was taught.
So God apparently also increased his spiritual influence.
We need to pray for God to enlarge our territory.
Both in our personal lives and as well as for our church as a whole.
God, expand my borders.
God, increase my sphere of influence.
God, open up doors of opportunity for me to share the gospel.
God, put people in my path that I can mentor and minister to.
God, increase Your power and anointing on my life.
Jabez prayed that the hand of God would be with him
The “Hand of the Lord” is a metaphor for His presence and power.
Jabez knew that in order to be successful, he needed the hand of God with him at all times.
We need to pray for the hand of God to be with us.
Lord, I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
Lord, I need Your presence.
Lord, I need Your power.
Lord, I need Your right hand to lead me and guide me.
Jabez prayed to be kept from evil
Jabez prayed that God would help him to abstain from all appearance of evil.
We need to pray for God to keep us from evil.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
In other words, God protect us and keep us away from the schemes and devices of the evil one.
God, sanctify me and set met apart.
God, make me a vessel that you can use and that you can fill with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jabez prayed that he would not cause pain
Jabez was not praying a selfish prayer
Many Christians avoid this prayer and say that is not biblical because it is misused by some preachers and televangelists that are part of the modern prosperity gospel movement to justify their 5 million dollar mansions and 65 million dollar jets.
God will bless His people.
But I believe that He blesses us in order for us to bless others.
We are not to hoard it up like the parable Jesus taught about the rich man who kept building bigger barns.
But this prayer is not a selfish prayer. In fact, it is an unselfish prayer.
Jabez prayed that God would bless him, enlarge his territory, that His hand would be with him and that he would be kept from evil so that he would not be a curse to others as his name implied, but that he would be a blessing to others.
He did not want to personally experience the pain his name implied. He also did not want to bring pain to others. He wanted to be treated well and he wanted to treat others well.
He recognized that God can take the evil and pain in our lives and transform it into something beautiful so that we are a blessing to others.
We need to pray for God to make us a blessing to others.
God, help me to remember that I am not limited by who I used to be or by how others choose to define me.
God, don’t let me misuse or hoard up the talents, abilities, and blessings that You have given to me.
God, I don’t want to cause pain, I want to bring blessing into people’s lives.
Jabez Called More Honorable Than His Brethren
It says at the beginning of our passage the Jabez was more honorable than his brethren
Jabez was considered more honorable than his brethren:
Because of the way he prayed.
Because of the way he didn’t allow his past to determine his destiny.
Because of the way he used God’s blessings to bless others.
And as a result, God answered Jabez’s prayer and granted what he requested.
God blessed him indeed.
God enlarged his territory.
God was with him.
God kept him from evil.
And God made him a blessing to others.
We have the confidence in knowing that God hears and answers every prayer
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
The answer may be “no.”
The answer may be “not now.”
But when we ask for things that are important to God and part of His will and the building of His Kingdom, we can expect our prayers to be answered.
Just like Jabez
Maybe you’ve been called or labeled something.
Maybe you’ve heard it so much that you’ve started to believe it yourself.
Don’t let what others say about you define who you are or how much you’re worth.
God doesn’t see your past, He sees your potential.
God has a plan and a purpose for your life.
God has a job for you to do.
You have a role to fill in the Kingdom of God.
There is a part of God’s blueprint that only you can build with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Are you willing to lace up your boots and get to work for Kingdom of God?
Are you willing to say, “Let’s Get to Work?”
Are you willing to say, “Let’s be about the Father’s business?”
Are you willing to step out by faith and begin to fulfill the plan God has for your life?
Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?
Are you willing to pray the Prayer of Jabez over your own life?
Bless me indeed.
Enlarge my territory.
Be with me.
Keep me from evil.
Let me be a blessing to others.
What do you need from the Lord this morning?