Summary: This is second in a series drawing prayer and life lessons from the Prayer of Jabez.
ASK FOR THE BEST
INTRODUCTION: During some of the darkest days of the American Revolution, after the Continental Army had experienced several defeats, a farmer who lived near General George Washington’s camp decided to pay the soldiers a visit. As he approached the tents his overheard a voice raised in agonizing prayer. On closer inspection he saw it was General Washington, down on his knees in the snow, tears streaming down his cheeks, asking God for assistance and guidance. The farmer crept away and returned home. Once there he said to his family, "Its going to be all right. We are going to win!" "What makes you think so?" his wife asked. "Well," said the farmer, "I heard General Washington pray out in the woods today—such fervent prayer I have never heard. And God will surely hear and answer that kind of praying." Such was the prayer of a man named Jabez. Jabez was a man of honor, a man of faith and a man who prayed a simple, yet earnest prayer that gained God’s approval. The text of that prayer is in I Chronicles 4:10, and over the next several weeks we will look deep into the substance of that prayer finding lessons for our lives. READ TEXT
I. GOD DESIRES TO BLESS US
A. Do you ever find yourself asking for God’s blessings and feeling like a beggar? We know that no one is perfect, therefore we are all unworthy! So, it is easy for us to feel undeserving of God’s blessings because we realize our limitations and our shortcomings. But that is not the only obstacle we face in prayer.
1. Some of us struggle with the fear of being selfish. We think that God will drizzle blessings into our lives as He chooses and that to ask for any more is to be greedy. And we know that selfishness and greediness are ungodly traits, so it would be even more unlikely to receive His blessings.
2. There is also our inability to conceive the benevolent nature of God to it’s fullest. We have heard for the majority of our spiritual lives that God is a just and righteous God. That He is filled with goodness, compassion and love. That He moves to aid His people at a moment’s notice, but we have trouble conceptualizing that into reality?
3. Brethren, no matter which one fits you personally, the reality remains that asking for God’s blessings in our own lives is often an uncomfortable experience. We have no qualms about asking for God to bless missionaries, our leadership, the sick, the grieving or even supper. But when it comes to our own lives, well we often shy away.
B. Well, listen up folks, God desires to bless us. He longs to overflow our lives with the fullest of heaven’s blessings, and the only way to understand that is to trust in what He tells us. Scripture is filled with descriptions of God’s willingness to bless His people and each one according to his or her special needs
1. In Exodus 33, as Moses was already becoming weary of struggling with a rebellious people, he asked for some reinforcement. He said, "Lord, please show me your glory." He was asking for a blessing. And God responded by saying (33:19). READ 34:5,6
3. Malachi 3:10
C. Our God is the God of the Blessing! Jabez knew this as truth. He had heard how Jehovah has rescued his ancestors time and time again, even when they were so undeserving. So, he prayed, and so should we.
II. ASK FOR THE BEST
A. You’ve got to love what Jabez said, and how he says it, when he began his prayer. He prayed, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed…" In the Hebrew, adding indeed to a request is like adding five (5) exclamation points to the sentence. Literally, Jabez said, "Please, Lord, I beg you to bless me greatly."
1. He knew how great God’s was and, in-turn, how insignificant he was. He also knew how abundantly God could bestow blessings, so he asks, he pleads from the bottom of his heart, with all the urgency and energy that he could muster, for God to fill-up his life with blessings.
2. Jabez knew that just a dab would not do. He desired all that God could give him. Notice that he left the substance of those blessings up to God. Jabez did not ask for a better job, a larger house, a pair of Air Jordan sandals. He wanted nothing more, and nothing less, than what God wanted for him.
3. So he asked. He prayed for all of God’s blessings designed for his life, and get this God granted his request. That may be the most powerful portion of this prayer. God answered and said, "YES!" That means the prayer and the heart of Jabez were right in the asking, because God grants honest, sincere requests made by his people.