Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Boldness of Prayer

I came across the prayer of Jabez yesterday while reading the Bible and saw where I had underlined it during a low point of my life. I wanted to learn more about this man, so I did some research. For someone who prayed such a passionate prayer, there had to be something special about him.

He is mentioned 3 times in the Bible. The first is in 1 Chronicles 2:55 where Jabez is the name of a town: "And the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez..." This town was apparently located near Bethlehem. Then Jabez is mentioned again in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.' 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 name "Jabez" means "he causes pain," so there must have been something painful about his birth, perhaps physically or emotionally. But Jabez apparently defied his hopeless name and dreary beginning to become a man who believed fervently in the power of God. He prayed with urgency, transparency and passion. His prayer to God was bold! His relationship with God must have been important to cause the author of Chronicles to stop and elaborate on this one man's life because Chronicles is full of boring genealogy. God had a purpose for Jabez and Jabez wanted God's blessing to be fulfilled.

The prayer has four parts. First, Jabez asks God to bless him. Second, he asks God to enlarge his territory or increase his responsibility. Third, he asks that God will be with him and stay close. Finally, Jabez asks that God keep him from harm so that he will be free from pain.

Jabez understood what many people don't get--God should be the center of our world and God wants to bless every life. We must first choose to invite God into our life and ask for His blessings on our life. Jabez wanted to succeed and wanted to increase the influence he had on others for God. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." It is important to stay close to God and rely on His continued support and guidance throughout our life.

So what happened to Jabez? At the end of the verse, it is clear that God answered Jabez's prayer.

Life is a process and growing into a mature Christian takes time. In reading the Bible, it is obvious that God is faithful in caring for those who seek Him. Jabez was just a normal guy who wanted God's hand on his life. I don't believe he was trying to manipulate God with this prayer but he was earnestly seeking the blessings God had for him. This prayer only helped to pull those blessings from the unseeing realm to the seeing realm, so Jabez could experience them.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Love the new family photo! What a precious family!