1 Chronicles 4:10
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.
Over 10 years ago I read the book “Prayer of Jabez” along with the rest of the church we were attending. I had no idea what this little book would teach me and how this little prayer would change my life.
Of course I am not about ritual prayers or thinking that there is formula to prayer but I do believe in following the examples that God has given us in the Bible so I sat up, read the book and paid attention.
God has reminded me of this very prayer way too many times to count over the years. Today was another of those times. As I sat here wondering which direction to go, what project would God have me work on, what is God’s will for my life today – God clearly impressed this prayer on my mind once again.
Usually I pray this when I am feeling lost or like I am not doing enough. Oddly enough at this time we have plenty going on between helping churches, fundraising, planning for the ministry center and writing materials, you would think we should stop there yet I found myself thinking of this prayer.
Today though, what God impressed on my heart was not to look for what blessings God has out there still for us, what territory He wishes to grow or who He wants us to reach. Today He impressed on my heart how He has blessed us indeed and continues each day to do so, that everyday when we seek His will He provides opportunities that enlarge our territory and reach others lives. Every day God is fighting the battle on my behalf and saving me from evil.
Like a rewind of a black and white movie I was shown the blessings of this past week, the rewards of everyday faith, putting each day and moment in God’s loving hands while putting my own plans away. A trip to Owen Sound that seemed to be a waste of time turned into a God appointment. As Eric waited to fix some things at one store, I slipped next door to a favorite store of mine. A few casual comments later I was deep in discussion with the owner, a kind Christian man whom God wanted us to encourage as he explored the ministry calling on his life. He struggled with the calling but we were able to talk to him about our journey of living by faith and all that God takes care of. We were able to take some prayer requests from him and hear his heart on many things over the course of an hour. In the end we were walking away feeling blessed and thankful for our time with this man when he called us back and reached out his hand to bless us in turn. Just that morning I had told Eric that I was short $40 dollars for groceries this week because of other expenses. God saw fit to care for that need through this man! God showed me the days I smiled at the birds, the phone calls we received from friends in need of counsel, the value in home schooling, the gift of a replacement computer when my old one crashed, people willing to help with our next outreach event and the list goes on and on.
If every single day we turn our agenda over to God, we ask Him to bless us with whatever He has planned for us, spiritual gifts, lessons, needs met; if we ask expectantly for God to enlarge our territory and bring people into our lives to minister to and reach out to, there would be an abundance of opportunities and we would overflow with blessings of all sorts. If each day we asked God to keep His hand upon us guiding us each step of the way we would remain in His will and would operate in His power. If each day we asked God to protect us from evil we would remain alert and aware, ready to stand firm and do battle, turning away from sins that cause us to hurt others.
There have been days when I have been praying this prayer regularly when I am overwhelmed with how much God is honoring this prayer. It does not always mean being busy either. Some days God’s will and blessing for me is to give me a quiet day at home with Him.
I firmly believe that a heartfelt prayer like the prayer of Jabez, which honors God and seeks His will is heard – just as Jabez was granted his request.
The church that we did the “Prayer of Jabez” with over 10 years ago has grown exponentially and I am not just talking numbers. This church disciples, reaches out to the lost, brings healing, meets needs and continues to believe that if they have faith every day God will bless them indeed. A whole church praying the same prayer with faith is a very powerful weapon against the enemy and is a very loud voice that God honors.
If you have not read the book I hope you will try to – it is a very quick, very powerful read. You may look at this small verse and think it is self explanatory and easily skim over it in the Bible, but when you read the intent behind it and begin to pray the meaning of the prayer rather than the words, your life could forever be changed.