PRAYING for God’s SUPERNATURAL BLESSINGS: "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 Chron 4:9-10)
There is a virtually unknown Bible character hidden in First Chronicles named Jabez. Jewish writers affirm that he was an eminent doctor in the law, whose reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town was called by his name (1Chron. 2:55). The name ‘Jabez’ literally means, “He will cause pain” given by his mother at birth as that was her expectation about him in the future. Yet, Jabez apparently overcame his “painful” background because he alone was singled out as being blessed by God. Why? Because Jabez said a prayer and God granted his request. Obviously, this is a very special prayer that we should note.
The Prayer of Jabez is not about asking God for more material wealth. It is not about placing specific personal demands. It is about asking for God's maximum blessing in our life--whatever, wherever, whenever, and however He wants it to be. It is about using those blessings to become a person of influence for His glory.
As we carefully examine this prayer of Jabez, we can distill five elements that we can use in our own personal prayers to God:
- Oh, that You would bless me indeed…sounds selfish, but not when we understand that this blessing can be ‘supernatural favors from God’. Asking for a blessing is seeking the power of God to flow through us. We are asking God to make us a channel of His blessing.
- And enlarge my territory…challenges us to go beyond what is comfortable. Let us begin each day asking God to do something new in our lives. Let us go into new places (that we have never gone before) taking new risks for God that He may use us to expand His kingdom.
- That Your hand would be with me…reminds us that stepping beyond what is comfortable can be dangerous as we are in uncharted territory. We need God’s presence with us and His favor upon us at all times to be truly successful.
- And that You would keep me from evil…is a simple recognition that we will be tempted in so many ways as we move forward. As in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:13a) we need to ask for God’s protection everyday from the constant attacks of the enemy (Eph. 6:12; 1 Pet. 5:8).
- That I may not cause pain…gives us the sober realization that our blessings may cause us to inflict pain upon others through our condescending attitude and pride. We need to ask God to give us a clearer perspective about ourselves, and make us humble especially when He blesses us.
Jabez was a good and honorable man who asked God to bless him and God answered his prayer. It's an example of God providing for and caring for His chosen people. The focus of Jabez's prayer is on God and His provision and protection. Jabez asked and God gave him what He requested—not because Jabez said the right thing or manipulated God into granting his request, but because God decided to be glorified through Jabez by answering his prayer.
Let us earnestly ask God to truly bless us with His supernatural favor so that God’s name may be glorified through us as we become channels of His blessing to everyone around us!