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.
Who was Jabez? Jabez is only mentioned 3 times in the bible. The first is in 1 Chronicles 2:55 where Jabez is the name of a town believed to be close to Bethlehem. Jabez is also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 that states Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, which means, “he causes pain”. It is assumed that his birth was physically or emotionally painful to his mother. At this time in history, your name often defined your future. Was Jabez mother predicting his future?
Jabez did not succumb to the negative and hopelessness of his name. The bible tells us that he believed intensely in God’s power. He cried out to God with deep emotion and heartfelt belief. Chronicles is composed of the genealogy from Adam to the founding of the Israelite kingdom. But the writer interrupted the list of genealogy to record the story of Jabez. Is there a lesson to be learned from the prayer he so fervently prayed to God?
Jazeb’s prayer was simple. He asked God to bless him, he asked him to enlarge his territory, he asked that God’s hand would be with him, and he asked to be kept from evil. Sounds like 4 modest requests but this prayer can teach us that God wants to fulfill our purpose in life and as Jabez did, asking for these blessings can be part of our prayer life. Our heavenly Father’s loving will for us is to be blessed and to have the satisfying and purposeful life he has planned for us.
Jabez put his hope in God. He had heard of the miracles that God had performed for his ancestors, leading them out of slavery and rescuing them from their enemies. So Jabez put his faith in God and left it up to God to decide what his blessings would be and how he would receive them. God answered Jabez prayer but not all at once. His prayer was answered over time showing us the importance of patience. Jabez prayed aloud and was confident in the power of God. Asking God to keep his hand on him showed his reliance on God.
God wants to bless our life and fulfill the promises he has given us if we rely on him. If we ask for his help, he will enlarge our opportunities so we can make a greater impact for him, his hand will guide and he will protect us from evil. This prayer teaches us to pray confidently that God’s purpose in our life will be realized and that his loving will be accomplished. Our abundance is from God and through faith his power and presence will carry us through our life. A dedicated prayer life releases a power that increases our spiritual expectations.
Wilkinson, Bruce, The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life, Multnomah Books