Summary: This is a sermon on the power of short prayers
Powerful Short Prayers
I Chron 4:9-10
What makes a good prayer? Is it length and eloquence or a heart that trusts in a mighty God? How long does a prayer have to be in order to be heard? God did not forbid long legitimate prayers but vain repetitions and heartless babblings. Some of the answered prayers of the saints like Solomon were long (I Kgs. 8:12-53) but some were short. Today we continue our survey 10 of the shortest prayers with instant answers in the Bible.
Jesus talked about prayers in Matthew 6:7 and He warned about prayers being TOO LONG, especially if they were just filled with FLUFF! “For when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7
We are continuing our sermon series about Powerful Short Prayers.
Today we want to talk about the short prayer asking to be used more by God. It was prayed by a man named Jabez. We are going to start in I Chronicles 4:9-10. Let’s see what we can learn from this short prayer.
He did not listen to what other men say about them
“Called Jabez” There are a few speculations as to what this actually meant but they all point to same thing: a boy who got a bad start in life. It could be the family was poor and the birth of another child meant another “mouth to feed, more of a burden.” Most likely he was born with a birth defect. He could have been handicapped, which was a great disappointment and shame to parents. It could be his birth brought his mother's death, as in the case with Jacob's wife Rachel when she gave birth to Benjamin, she called him “son of sorrow.” The name “Jabez” means to grieve, be sorry. Either way this is not what we would call getting a good start on life! How would you like it if when you walked into a room, people said, “Here comes the loser.”
But that did not hold this guy back. People in pursuit of excellence don’t listen to what men say about them.
Everybody says “You can’t live happily if all of your life people have categorized you, or said what you can or cannot do or tried to discourage you. What did Jabez do? He did not let other people determine his path in life. Some people get a bad break in life. Get a bad start, maybe grow up in a dysfunctional family or deep poverty or sickness or disease. There is a tendency to feel sorrow for themselves and their lot in life. Some people feel like they can’t do anything about it.
When Walt Disney was younger he was hired to work at the Kansas City Star newspaper. He was later fired from the paper because of lack of creativity. Years later The Disney Company bought ABC which owned The Kansas City Star.
How strange that he was fired because he was not creative enough and years later you own them because of your creativeness.
Walt Disney said “I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.” He also said, “We created Disneyland, in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster, closed and forgotten within the first year.” Very few individuals can claim to have had a greater impact on modern culture and entertainment than Walt Disney. Excellence requires a single minded pursuit that may not ignore everything around it, but certainly isn’t distracted by it.
Jabez was not going to let other people hold him back. In your pursuit of excellence be especially careful of people who are close to you saying things that can hinder you for life. You would think at least his own mother would love him enough to give him a nice name. This was some kind of dysfunctional family. People may want to categorize you. They may say you can’t do this or can’t do that. They may even seek to discourage you from trying. Don’t let others set your parameters in life. Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do.
Jabez was “More honorable than all his brethren” Rather than listen to what men had to say; Jabez sought the approval of God. This is the estimation of God. Whether the world thought his life would amount to anything was of him no importance to him.
All the other boys had nice names like Zimran, Adulmna, Pathrusim, Arphaxad, and they were probably the “in’ names for that day. But God said Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Others may speak well of you, but what does God say?