Sermons

Summary: This is the fourth installment in an ongoing series based on I Chronicles 4:9,10.

ASK FOR HIS PRESENCE

I Chronicles 4:10c

INTRODUCTION: Three ministers were discussing the importance of prayer and the appropriate positions for prayer. As they were talking there was a telephone repairman working on the phone system in the back of the room. One minister said that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. That showed humility and reverence. The third said that they both had it wrong -- the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face. This was after all the position Jesus took while praying in the garden. By this time the phone man couldn’t stay out of the conversation any longer. He spoke up and said, "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever prayed was while I was dangling upside down from a power pole 40 feet above the ground." In stark reality it is in such situations where we pray for God’s help more often than any other. In fact, we seldom seek God’s hand in our life without there being some sort of trouble looming large. The prayer-life of Jabez was somewhat different. It was in the midst of a faith-filled prayer and from an honorable life that he said, "O, Lord, that Your hand would be with me."

I. GETTING THE MEANING

A. As we continue to study this prayer, I can’t help but be struck by the profound yet powerful simplicity of its substance. It gives me the impression that Jabez desired nothing more than to be found pleasing in God’s sight and that heartfelt quest rings true in his prayer.

1. We have noticed before that he did not ask for specific blessings. He left the substance up to the will of God. Nor did he ask for wealth or fame but for the challenge of being found more faithful in more things. And then he seeks God’s presence in His life.

2. This petition for the hand of God was not the result of God’s granting the abundant blessings or the increasing of his territory. It was a natural progression in the thoughts of a man who knew his God. It was one continual though from the heart of an honorable man.

3. Jabez sought God’s hand in his life because he knew how desperately he needed it. Simply stated, He knew his limitations. He knew that his strength alone was insufficient for the journey of a life dedicated to all that is right and good. So he plead with God for His presence to be found in his life, for His divine strength, perfect guidance and protection.

B. Jabez was God dependent, therefore he prayed, "O, Lord, that your hand would be with me." And God granted his request. God’s hand touched his life because God knew his heart. He will do the same for us.

{We need to…}

II. ASK FOR HIS PRESENCE

A. If there is one thing most men fear more than anything else it is the shame of weakness. Maybe that explains why we don’t ask for directions and do not read instructions. Yet, maybe it is also why we will suffer through some tragedy or great trial and never ask for help.

1. You see, as much as we desire to be found strong, unfailing and without need, we are in reality weak, helpless and desperately needy. To comprehend that undeniable truth is never an easy task, nor is it a pleasant experience, but it is a necessary realization in order for us to grow beyond our mere mortal abilities.

2. Jabez knew just how weak and insufficient he was. Remember he was a man marked as one whose life was filled with pain or one whose life would cause great pain to others. But despite what men thought of him or said about him he knew that God’s helping hand was readily available to all who would ask.

3. He understood that without the presence of God’s hand in his life he would be unable to live and work beyond his normal abilities, which were few. In other words he would not be successful without God so he prayed, "Father please work through me and in me because I cannot do it by myself."

B. When was the last time you got down on your knees raised your hands and heart up to God and plead for His power, His presence, His hand to be found in your life? How long has it been since you surrendered your life to Him and allowed Him to move through it and in it to the pleasure of His will?

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