In this life, we need more than human power. We need a higher power. When we work, we work, but when we pray, God works! In this series, we are studying some of the great prayers of the Bible. Last week, we looked at the prayer of Jesus. Today, we’ll look at 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. (1 Chron. 4:9-10)
The People God Loves
The context of this prayer is 1 Chronicles. The first nine chapters are nothing but names and numbers. Jabez is tucked away in a list of 600 names, most of which you’ve never heard of and are unpronounceable. God knows us by name. The book ends with David telling Solomon in 22:19, “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.” That is the way you need to start every day. In doing so, you will be like Jabez. When we read that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, it does not mean he was perfect. What made him more honorable was his prayer. That is all the man is known for. Can you think of anything better? This man prayed in such a way that God answered his prayer. Daniel 6:3 says that “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators.” Later in that chapter we read that Daniel prayed three times a day and asked God for help. You can distinguish yourself by starting each day seeking the Lord. Pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and God will set you apart from the crowd. God loves people and of all the people in the world, He wants to spend time with you.
The Pain God Uses
Jabez’s very name meant pain. Can you imagine? Don’t be a Jabez in the neck! Expecting parents, don’t do that to your kid! Think about it though, what label are you wearing? Troublemaker, clown, bully, outsider. It may be divorce, depression, bankruptcy, addiction. That may be where you have been, but it does not have to define who you are! Life is filled with pain. Pain is part of the curse and the fall of man. God allows pain in our lives and turns it into blessing. A.W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can use a man greatly, until he has first hurt him significantly.” There is purpose in the pain. Pain does not have the last word on your life. Jabez prayed, “Lord, don’t let my label be my legacy. My mother may have named me pain, but she is not going to have the last word over my life!”
The Prayer God Answers
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel.” Why the God of Israel? Because He is the One and Only true God. Because His love endures forever! Because the gods of this world have eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, noses that cannot smell, mouths that cannot speak, hands that cannot feel, and feet that cannot walk. I believe there is another reason. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. His name meant cheater, schemer, deceiver and God changed his name. Jacob wrestled with God all night and said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” “I won’t let you go till you change my name!” No wonder Jabez called on the God of Israel. Jabez prayed passionately and he prayed for blessing. He was serious about calling on God. It is OK to ask God to bless you! In Genesis 12:2, God told Abraham, “I will bless you and you will be a blessing.” Blessing is having more than I need so I can make an eternal difference in the lives of others. Jabez also prayed for influence. “…Enlarge my territory!” We can ask God for big things.
Life is a journey and you need the right guide. “Guide me on the right path.” “Show me the right way.” We need God’s guidance to lead us or we will waste His blessings. God wants to do exceedingly, abundantly more in your life. He will give you more opportunity, more responsibility, more influence. “Let your hand be with me….” Jabez prayed for God’s presence. God’s hand speaks of his presence. He did not want the blessing of God without the presence of God. He did not want the gift without the Giver. He prayed like Moses, “If you don’t go with me, I don’t want to go.” The final part of Jabez’s prayer was for God’s protection. Blessing makes you a target. The more God uses you the more Satan attacks you. If you get God’s blessing, influence, and His presence, all hell is going to come against you. If all hell is coming against you, that may be one of the greatest compliments. God is using you! Pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver me from evil.” “Protect me from the enemy around me and the enemy within me.” Only God knows the temptations/attack coming your way. We need God’s constant covering/ protection.
“…And God granted his request.” What God did for Jabez, He will do for you. God is still in the prayer-answering business. Jabez called on God. Don’t be too proud to admit you are in pain/need God. Jabez got it all for the asking. Ask, seek, knock. More than the prayer of Jabez, you need the God of Jabez.