Summary: Overview of the Prayer of Jabez.
Note: some of the illustrations in this series are not acknowledged - this is due to the loss of my notes, not out of a desire to deny any sources. Thank you!
Prayer of Jabez #1:
The Who, What, and Why?
(December 30, 2001)
There are many, many prayers in the Bible, some of which are rather lengthy, and others that are remarkably brief.
And many sermons have been preached on the topic of prayer.
Why do you suppose that is? I would think that it’s because prayer is important. God invites us to pray, and it was certainly modeled in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So prayer is important.
And we can learn a lot from studying the prayers of the Bible. We can learn a lot about attitudes of the people praying, and how God responds to the prayers of His people.
Today we begin to look at those same things as we start a series on the prayer of Jabez.
My inspiration for this series is the book by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson by the same name.
When I was first introduced to this prayer from Scripture, I was rather skeptical, and I will outline some of those reasons a little, later.
But as I read Dr. Wilkinson’s book, and looked at how we could implement some of the principles found in the prayer, I got more and more excited about what God can do through this body of believers.
Over the next four weeks we will examine the four parts of this prayer. This morning, however, we are going to take an overview of the life and prayer of Jabez, in order to lay some background for our studies the next four weeks.
My hope is that you will be as encouraged about the might of our God as I have become. My purpose is to introduce you to a person and a prayer that can have a significant impact on your relationship with God, if you will allow Him to work in you as He did in the life of Jabez.
I have the passage printed in your bulletin, so I would ask that you follow along as I read it.
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
I want to focus on three aspects of our passage today, and the first one is the…
I. Who – The Person.
A. His name.
Last week we took some time to discuss the name of the divine baby, and I mentioned that names in Bible times had meanings, and those meanings were taken very seriously when naming children.
I also mentioned that that there are names in Scripture we should probably avoid, such as Ichabod.
Well, the main character in our passage had one of those names. His name is the Hebrew word for pain.
Now there’s a name for you! Can you imagine walking down the street and have someone calling you?
Hey, Pain! Wait up! Let’s go out for a pizza!
How many friends do you think a guy like that had growing up? Children are cruel sometimes, and I can just imagine this poor guy being the butt of kids’ jokes and schoolyard songs.
Although we can only speculate here, his birth must have been remarkable in the amount of pain it caused his poor mother.
And so she named him in such a way that would be a constant reminder of that pain.
Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot better things to remember my children by. Every time his mother called him in for dinner, she must have thought about that pain.
“Hey, Pain! Supper! Come and get it, you little pain-causer!”
His name is worth noting, and we will talk a little bit more about it later in the message.
But now I want to talk a bit about…
B. His circumstances.
From what I can gather from the research I have done, Jabez, at the time of his request, was in the process of expelling the Canaanites from the land the Lord had promised Israel.
He was doing the work God had given him to do, and so he was asking the Lord to help him accomplish it.
You may remember that removing the Canaanites was no easy task. It was a long struggle, and in fact, some were not pushed out, because the Israelites lost heart, or turned to idols.