Summary: The Prayer of Jabez
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ 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.” (NKJ)
Before Bruce Wilkinson wrote his bestselling ‘Prayer of Jabez’, hardly anyone had ever heard of this guy. Hidden within a long list of genealogies in your OT is a golden nugget of truth, only recently discovered by popular Christian culture. Sadly, even though it sold millions of copies and no doubt had a great effect on all who read the book, most Christians don’t seem to live any differently as a result of this powerful passage. We are supposed to pray for God’s will…and yet, let’s not miss the fact that God wants for us to pray for His blessings, and wants to bless us! Jabez’ name means “pain,” "sorrow," "burden" or "miserable." Can you imagine what a hard time this little fellow must have had when he was a boy? His name meant misery. Maybe some of the children came knocking on the door asking if Misery could come out and play. What a name!
The Bible says that his mother called him Jabez because she had borne him in pain. (I Chron. 4:9). A hard time at birth had labeled his name and to the Hebrew child a name meant destiny. A name to the Jewish people was often taken as a wish for the child’s future. If there ever was a guy who could be bitter, it was Jabez. His very name could have driven him to a life of hate and bitterness. But Jabez, rather than letting his name determine his destiny, rose above his name, becoming a man of noble nature.
What does that tell me? It tells me that your past does not have to determine your future.So Jabez decided to do something about this. He decided that he was not going to live ordinary and the only way to do that was to place himself totally in the hands of an extra-ordinary God.
None of us are bound to our upbringing or trapped by former circumstances…with God’s help and blessing we can rise from the muck of the pit and be something more for Him!
My challenge then this year and especially these next four weeks is to let this prayer mark your daily life. Start this year with a focus on being all that God wants you to be and having everything God wants you to have.
I. Believe God Wants to Bless You
This prayer is a recognition that without the hand of God in his life, he would have a mighty tough time of it. It is a cry to the only One who could make mountains move, go before Israel, and bring the blessings promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and renewed through Moses. It is a prayer to acknowledge his helplessness in the face of the task. It is a prayer admitting His need for God to work a request for God to intervene so he could accomplish His work.
This word blessed means to bow the knee before God to praise and adore God for who He is. The idea here is not wealth and prosperity but believing God wants to bless His people and that includes you.
What does it mean that God wants to bless His people?
Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (NKJ)
The Greek word for blessed means that god speaks well of us. It means the god of Heaven and Earth, of all creation, The God who sits on the Throne of Heaven has spoken and is speaking well of you.
A. It’s His Nature to Bless
Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (NKJ)
Don’t forget the benefits you and I have. He’s forgiven all your sins Christian. He’s redeemed you and has crowned you with His love and given you good things in this life.
Just because bad things happen to good people don’t miss the point that we live in a fallen world where sin has left its mark but God has stepped in and forgiven you and look at what Psalm 103 goes on to say, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities…As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” V.8-10,12 (NKJ)