I Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
The Prayer of Jabez is a famous prayer in the Bible. Some have turned it into a self-focused, bless-me prayer. However, the biblical definition of blessing is less about “God, make me rich and comfortable and happy,” and more about “God, use me as Your hands and feet for Kingdom impact.” Let’s take a look at a few prayer principles from Jabez.
1. Cry Out to God. Jabez prayed — he “cried out to God…”
Not just “help me, bless me, and save me” but “God, use me.” Ask yourself: Where do I need to step up and step out personally to be obedient to Christ individually and to join with my church so we can have greater impact?
2. Recognize the source of every blessing. Jabez prayed — “Bless me”
We recognize that the Lord is the source of every blessing. The Bible says in James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…”. The Bible cautions us to not take credit (see Isaiah 10:13) but rather to give the glory to God, from whom all blessings flow. We have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others!
3. Ask to be used for greater impact. Jabez prayed — “Enlarge my territory”
Most like to turn this into a “bless me, give me, prosper me with more stuff” kind of prayer. However, if we look at the lineage of Jabez we can understand that he is not merely speaking in terms of wealth, prosperity and land but in terms of impacting the Kingdom of God. He wanted his spiritual territory to increase, to claim future generations for the Lord of Israel. As a Christian, it is never just about me. It is never just give me more money, give me more land, give me more comfort…as if we are the end all. My personal pleasure and comfort is not the end all; it is not the finish line. Jesus is less concerned about my comfort and more concerned about my character.
4. Request guidance. Jabez prayed — “Your hand be with me”
Jabez wanted God to be in every moment of his day. He understood the power of God’s hand to protect and to lead in the right direction. We can count on God to protect, correct, direct and lead us. Where do you need wisdom? Ask God for His guidance. Pray for yourself and your kids and spouse and others that you/they will make wise choices.
5. Pray for strength. Jabez prayed — “Keep me from harm”
I think there’s something deeper in this prayer than just asking for comfort or not to get hurt. The name Jabez literally means “born with pain.” His own mother named him Jabez because of the pain she endured in labor. When Jabez prayed, he spoke against the testimony of his name and let go of the shame it covered him in. When we pray, we come humbly to God, vulnerable, with all of our scars and imperfections, and we ask Him to turn our weakness into strength for His glory.
6. Believe God can meet your need and will answer your prayer. Jabez prayed — “…and God granted his request.”
May we all pray with faith believing in God’s power to meet our needs and answer our prayers. And let’s make sure one of our oft-prayed prayers is, “God, use me for greater Kingdom impact.”