Summary: A challenge to 30 days of prayer based upon 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.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV)
Jabez is a noteable exception, tucked away in a list of genealogy. Did you notice that Jabez was considered more honorable. A legacy of honor...what will your legacy be? Years from now when someone is reviewing your family tree...what will be said of you? Are you striving to leave a legacy of honor?
Many of us have painful pasts. Jabez literally means "pain" or "sorrow." His life could have been a self fulfilling prophecy of his name. But something was different...his legacy was honor...not pain.
So what made the difference? The difference appears to be the God-sized prayer that Jabez prayed. The prayer was notable enough that it was included in this list of genealogy. You see Jabez trusted God to change his legacy. Because his prayer was a God-sized prayer, it required God sized trust. If you are going to see God-sized prayers answered, you too will need to use God-sized trust.
Let’s break the Jabez’s prayer apart.
The first thing he asked was "Lord, Bless Me Indeed..."
We need to recognize where the blessings come from. Jabez realized that for blessings to be a part of his life, they could only come by God’s provision.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
Jabez also realized that God seeks to bless His children. His plans are for our good and not to harm us.
As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.
Matthew 7:11 (CEV)
The next part of the prayer was a request to "enlarge my territory." Enlarging your territory means asking God to do something "big" in your life. This should be something beyond your strength and abilities. Something that points others to God. So many times we ask God to bless our man-sized efforts, when we should be asking God to do God-sized things in and through our life. Enlarging your territory also means asking God to increase your influence for His kingdom. Ask for boldness and opportunities to impact others for God’s glory.
Jabez asked that God’s hand would be with him. This means asking God for a continual sense of His presence. We all are aware mentally that God is with us, but we should be constantly looking around us for the evidence of His presence. This part of the prayer also seeks God’s direction for all things in our life...physcial, spiritual and emotional.
Jabez asked that God would keep him from evil. We need to remember that God is our refuge and our strength. We need to seek his protection from physical harm, spiritual pitfalls and Satanic attacks.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Jabez asked that he not be the cause of pain. In this part of the prayer we are challenged to ask God to transform our lives into a source of strength. We seek to be cautious in our actions, so that we don’t become a stumbling block to others. We ask for God to make us sensitive to the effect of our words and actions upon others.
Now the story of Jabez ended with this great promise: "And God answered his prayer." You see God seeks to do God-sized things through each of us and through our church. Are you willing to offer your very life...a living vessel for God’s glory?
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
John 15:16 (NLT)
Now that we’ve seen the effect of prayer in Jabez life, let’s get to the challenge. For the next 30 days I am challenging you to pray according the model of Jabez. Pray this prayer for your own life and also for our church. I will promise you two things. Trials will come...But God will move!!!