Summary: Jabez is distinctly remembered, not for what he did, but for what he prayed. His prayer became the casting distinction in his life to remove him from causing pain to being blessed by the hand of God.
The Prayer of Jabez
Scripture Reference: 1 Chronicles 4:9 – 10
Where are you in your relationship with the Lord? Is there visible evidence that Christ is at work within you? If so, is it visible to your spouse, to your children, to your church, to your co-workers?
Are you serving God today in such a way that people see you as a Christian doing good things for him or has God made it visibly clear that your good works are the things that only he can do through you giving him glory?
When was the last time God did something so big in your life that it was obvious that it was from him?
When I was attending middle school at St. Phillips Catholic Church as an eighth grader, I was not a very good student academically. I had poor study habits that made it almost certain that when class was in session I did everything I could to avoid being noticed by the teacher.
I didn’t not want her to call on me for answers for fear that it would reveal to the teacher and the whole class how much I didn’t know. She would state, “Raise your hand if you know the answer to the following question.”
I wasn’t about to raise my hand because I didn’t know the answers. But one day I decided to buckle down and give my all to studying those classroom subjects and it paid off.
One day when I got to school and the teacher in her typical fashion begin to ask questions. I did not wait until she said, “Raise your hand.” or “Who can tell me…?” My hand flew in the air because I knew the answers.
How many of you are in here this morning hoping that God won’t call on you to raise your hand because you don’t want the church to know that you don’t have the answers to the questions I asked earlier in the message?
Or how many of you can’t wait to raise your hand and share what fresh thing, fresh insight, or fresh desire, God has done and is doing in your life?
That is what the second part of the prayer of Jabez is all about. It is about asking God to do more in our lives for kingdom work.
It is about moving beyond living as an average Christian. It is about taking your faith to a new level and recognizing as Esther did, that God has sent you for such a time as this.
ABC produced a hit TV game show entitled, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” It was a show that hit high ratings around the country because it publicly exploited what millions secretly wanted --- to be millionaires.
God is asking this morning, “Who wants to be an impact for Christ?” “Who wants to have more opportunities, more influence for God at home, at work, at school, at church, at the 7-11, at the K-Mart?”
Last week we examined a prayer by a man named Jabez. A prayer found tucked away in a list of what seemed to be nine chapters of names that would make good reading at a family reunion than at a church service on Sunday morning.
Chapter 4 reads:
1Ch 4:1 The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. 1Ch 4:2 And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These [are] the families of the Zorathites. 1Ch 4:3 And these [were of] the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister [was] Hazelelponi: 1Ch 4:4 And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These [are] the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem. 1Ch 4:5 And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
But down at verse nine there is an insertion of some historical data about a man named Jabez. It does not indicate who gave birth to him or whom he gave birth to. It is almost like a parenthesis.
1Ch 4:9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 1Ch 4:10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep [me] from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
There is four parts to his prayer:
Part 1 - Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed.