The Prayer of Jabez

Prayer of Jabez (KJV)

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

1 Chronicles 4:10 King James Version (KJV)
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The Prayer of Jabez is a short and simple prayer that can be found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. He calls on the God of Israel, asking him not only to bless him but to be with him, keep him from evil and enlarge his coast. No small requests here. But God grants him all that he asks of him.

There are many things that can be taken from this short, simple, but meaningful prayer. First, we have the gravity of the requests, which at first may not seem very humble to the reader. Jabez is asking God to enlarge his coast, a request that could be interpreted as a sign of greed. However, when stated in conjunction with asking God to be with him and keep him from evil, we can assume that his intentions are beyond that of simply a desire for wealth. He is requesting more responsibility with it, and trusting that God will help guide his leadership; not only by keeping him from evil but by keeping his hand with him.

With this in mind, we can see that Jabez’ motivation in asking for a greater area is so that he can bring the influence of God to a larger amount of people. God wants us to be his disciples, and that often means increasing your realm of influence (or territory).

If we are asking God to increase our realm of influence, social circle, or people that we affect through our career with the intention of bringing his word to a larger audience, he most surely will grant our request.

When Jabez asks to be blessed by God, he is recognizing that all blessings come from Him. These may not just include material blessings, but spiritual blessings as well.

It is sometimes easy for us to forget that all blessings come from God, and we forget to thank him, instead, being proud solely of ourselves. Being proud of yourself for the products of your labor is not a bad thing, but recognizing that it was God that helped you to succeed in your efforts is of vital importance as well. God wants us to be prosperous not only financially, but with our spiritual relationship with him, our emotional relationships, and any other ventures that we may be pursuing.

In this prayer, Jabez also asks for the hand of God to be with him, recognizing that he and his abilities as a human were limited. As Christians, We can take a lot from this as well. There are many things that we might think we are able to do without God’s help or guidance, but in the end we end up failing, and feeling insufficient.

If we go into a task with God by our side in everything, the outcome of victory is inevitable. On the other hand, we may already recognize that a task or goal is too great for us to accomplish and rather than going to God with it, we decide not to try at all. This is also a mistake as no task is too great for God and he does in fact want to do great and meaningful things in our lives.

Another thing we can take from these verses is that Jabez had extensive faith in God. If you look earlier in the chapter, you’ll find that his mother named him after the pain that he had caused in his birth; the Hebrew meaning of Jabez meaning “he causes pain.”

In Jewish culture, it was thought that the name of your child also had a part in foretelling your future, which unfortunately meant for Jabez that he would be doomed to a life of pain. He defies this belief, fervently praying to God to be saved from his pain.

As God grants him this wish, it serves as a testament to the power of faith and prayer over traditional beliefs and reinforces the idea that he is a faithful and honorable man. This can relate to our lives in many ways as well, perhaps not specifically to being a victim of an old foretelling, but in other situations where we feel like a victim to our circumstance.

Whether we got fired or laid off at work, are dealing with family issues, or dealing with medical complications; it may feel like there is nothing we can do to control a seemingly hopeless situation. Jabez did not believe so and he was granted freedom from his pain. In this same way, God can deliver those who are faithful to him from their current situations.

At the start of the prayer, Jabez called out specifically to the God of Israel. This is a crucial element of the prayer as well, as he is recognizing the one true God. Jabez lived in a time where there were many false gods and prophets and realizing the importance of recognizing that there was only a single God reinforces the level of faith he displayed. Again, he is putting all of his faith solely into the God of Israel and when we do the same, God will answer.

We may not necessarily be calling or looking towards other gods for guidance, but we often make the mistake of putting our faith in other things, whether we mean to or not. We can make money our God, putting faith in the idea that it will solve all of our problems. Or we can put our spouse ahead of God, only listening to what they have to say instead of taking our problems to the Lord. I am not trying to say money is bad, or that you should not take advice from your husband or wife, but neither of these things should come before God.

God is both just and loving, and he is willing to help us in all of our problems, big or small. All that we have to do is be willing to bring them to him; nobody will be turned away and none of our prayers will go unanswered.

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