In the book of 1 Chronicles chapter 4 in verse 10, Jabez prayed to God a brief and simple prayer. According to the scripture, Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother called his name Jabez because he bore him in pain. Here is that brief prayer I was awakened to speak about.
“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.”
This passage came to me as I was trying to come up with the proper words to pray to God. I know that my path has been laced with sin, so I feel somewhat dirty now that I have been made aware of the holiness of God. Yes, I know that my sins have been forgiven but they still linger on in my flesh mind. I remember the things I did that opposed God. Although some of it could have been because of my ignorance of the righteous requirements of God, some of it was also intentional. I knew it was wrong and still I, did it anyway. My ignorance does not change the law nor can it erase what I did. But that is the purpose of Christ! He came to earth, sent by the Father to wash us of all unrighteousness and make us eligible to returreturn our Father’s kingdom. I know that in theory but yet still I still fill dirty. This is why I was seeking the best way to pray to God.
Scripture tells us that Jabez was an honorable man, at least more honorable than his brothers. This may not mean that he was righteous but only better than his brothers. I assume he had sins as well because God says that we all fall short of the mark He expects out of His children. Therefore all are sinners in the eyes of God. Should that make me feel better just because I may be somewhat better than others in the degree of my sins? No, a sin is a sin. Only God can measure degree of sin. There’s one unforgivable sin. We are told it is blasphemy. We are also told that there is but one judge of us all so we are not to judge each other but leave that up to God’s appointed Judge. This is the background as to why I was seeking the proper words to pray to God.
I’m not sure if the writer wrote everything that was on Jabez’s mind as he was praying but these were the words chronicled by the writer. I would have thought that he first humbled himself before God seeking forgiveness before he made a request but that is my speculation only. I would have also thought that he would have thanked God for what he already had before asking for more but perhaps he did, and the writer did not record that part of his prayer. That again is only my speculation that is neither here nor there. Instead Jabez’s prayer started with him asking God, “Oh that You would bless me indeed.”
All believers wish to be blessed by God. Some want material things and others want God’s love and tender care. The ladder would be more beneficial because material things are slated to return to the earth where they originated while God’s love and tender care permeates through time and eternity. Why ask for something that is only temporary when you could ask for things that would last throughout eternity? I am not questioning his motives but only seeking words to pray to God in a manner that seeks God’s face.
I admit that once I read the passage it did help me formulate my prayer request because I wanted to pray more according to the will of God and what He wanted for me despite the material things that seem to tug at my heart. I wanted to ask God to bless me with what He wanted for me and for things that could improve upon my service to the body of God. In that sense, I would say that oh that you bless me indeed. That might have been what Jabez hoped for as well because I am only speculating. Through reading his prayer, I was able to focus upon the intent behind the mere words of the prayer. By the way, this prayer became the subject of a wildly popular book, The Prayer of Jabez, written by Bruce Wilkerson published back in the year 2000 by Multnomah Books. I read that book back then and was moved by it.
It is odd that as we mature in life our perspective changes. Our many experiences add or take away things that we feel to be more important and filled with wisdom and knowledge. I am sure I wanted God to bless me as He did Jabez, but it was no question that I was seeking material blessings and more specifically money and the things that our money can buy. Thank God He did not bless me with only material things, but He did bless me with His wisdom, and I have been on this wisdom search for all these years up to date. For that I am extremely grateful because now I know what to pray for; I would rather have God’s love and tender care.
Jabez also asked God to enlarge his territory. I assumed that was speaking of earthly territory such as land and governance over a territory as in a ruler or king. That was my assumption but perhaps he wanted to spread the good news about the love of God for His people to a wider area of people who may not have known about the God of Israel. It was my mind that assumed the lower request. Jabez was more honorable so he easily might have been asking to increase his ability to reach more people. That would make sense because he followed by asking God to keep His hands on him and keep him from evil. If Jabez knew he was promoting the God of Israel he also know that Israel had many enemies and had suffered mightily at the hands of nearby neighbors that did not believe in Jehovah God. Jabez knew that he would require protection from the enemies just as King David always sought God’s protection similarly. I wasn’t thinking about evil powers but about wicked and ruthless people of earth.
Finally, Jabez prayed that he did not cause pain. Apparently, he know that he had caused his mother pain as he came into the world so that is not something that he wanted to place on anyone ever again. To be the one that causes pain is not what we consider to be godly. I think that is one of the best phrases of the prayer because we never want to lead people astray but instead to lead them into the righteous arms of our Heavenly Father. That is undoubtedly what Jabez meant, and I concur with him. Once I completed this simple prayer it helped me formulate the words to pray to God so God could grant me my prayer request and His eternal blessings.
If you don’t know what to pray for or how to phrase the words, this simple prayer could assist you as it did me. To Almighty God be the glory… Selah