THE PRAYER OF JABEZ
Reading through the dry and dusty portion of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles, we come across a welcomed oasis (4:9-10). The birth of Jabez brought pain to his mother. No, not just the normal pain of childbirth but some kind of complications added to it. This experience stood out so much to his mother that she named her child “Jabez” which means “pain” or “sorrow.” Can you imagine how he felt as he was growing up when people asked him why his name was Jabez?
Sometimes our start in life can bring disadvantages. Perhaps when we were young something happened that put us on a course of difficulty. And as time went on we just grew accustomed to things going wrong in our lives. After a while we just sank down into our lot in life, accepting that the script has already been written and there’s no way of changing it. We just adapted to a life of pain. But Jabez decided he wanted a better life so he turned to the Lord. He asked God to bless him so that he could reverse that curse on his life and start blessing others. Here is his five-fold prayer with some parallel verses to ponder:
THAT YOU WOULD BLESS ME INDEED - (Gen 32:26) And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"
ENLARGE MY TERRITORY - (Isa 54:2-3) "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left . . .
THAT YOUR HAND WOULD BE UPON ME - (Isa 41:10) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
YOU WOULD KEEP ME FROM EVIL - (Mat 6:13) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one . . .
THAT I MAY NOT CAUSE PAIN - (Gen 12:2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
Is there a dark cloud hanging over your life that needs to be replaced by the sunshine of God’s love? Then be like Jabez and pray that your pain will be turned into gain. Jesus took the curse of sin that you might experience God’s loving favor in your life. Are you tired of feeling like a victim doling out pain? Are you ready to be blessed and then to be a blessing to others? Then pray like Jabez and say “Oh, that You would bless me indeed!” God granted Jabez what he requested and He’s ready to hear your request, too. Then get ready for some changes!