The courageous prayer of Jabez
James 5:16 (NIV) – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective
Not surprisingly, the place we are most likely to experience testing is exactly where we struggle most to trust God. Bruce H. Wilkinson
By Pastor George Lehman
This guy Jabez mentioned in the book of 1 Chronicles.
A man who had courage enough to pray a prayer that changed his life forever.
God will highlight your struggle to make you better. The tough stuff is designed to build us not discourage us.
Each one of us want God’s best.
Most of us want things that are the ‘BEST’.
- The best house.
- The best bike/car.
- The best job and salary.
Important things we should want:
- The best marriage relationship.
- The best relationship with our children and families and church family.
Can I say that God wants more than just the best for us?
Psalm 42:11 (LB) – Oh, my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act.
If we will just put our faith to work and trust God, our outcome will be awesome.
So, we can draw courage from scripture:
Romans 15:4 (Ampl) – For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.
I want us to draw courage from Jabez’s prayer, how he got God’s best.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (Ampl) – 9 Jabez was honorable above his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez [sorrow maker], saying, Because I bore him in pain. 10 Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request.
When you read 1 Chronicles 4 there’s a long genealogy which is interrupted by the author in order to point out a man named Jabez.
1 Chronicles 4:7-8 (NIV) – 7The sons of Helah: Zereth, Zohar, Ethnan, and Koz who was the father of Anub 8and Hazzobebah and of the clans of Aharhel son of Harum.
I.e. Don’t miss this guy – he’s special.
1 Chronicles 4:9a (Ampl) – Jabez was honorable above his brothers.
Please not in the genealogy this man Jabez is remembered,
there came a powerful God inspired break through, a deliverance a victory –
His life became a legacy he was remembered amongst many families for his courageous prayer and life change.
Please note: A family tree (genealogy) marked by sin, beaten up and destroyed by evil practices and ungodly living from generation to generation….
THEN there’s a meeting with JESUS and everything changes…
no more curses, only favour, blessing, prosperity, breakthrough and peace flows from generation to generation…the story of Jabez.
Even though his life was overshadowed and associated with pain-
Jabez means “pain, sorrow”.
Inspite of life being hard for Jabez, he turned out very well.
This is very good news for all of us.
Jabez asked God for the things he wanted so he could live a courageous life
#1 Jabez wanted God’s blessing.
“Oh, that You would bless”
God has promised to bless everyone of us.
Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Our behaviour and lifestyle positions us for blessings, note:
Verse 9 Jabez was honorable above his brothers
Don’t speak and live unbelief, it will rob you of God’s blessings.
#2 Jabez wanted God’s influence.
“Enlarge my border”. IE: “There is more”
He didn’t want to be an average church sitter. He wanted his life to be a significant influence. He wants to be a History maker
No matter what your past, God wants to increase your influence.
Isaiah 54:2 (Ampl) – Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, In Christ there’s always room for more.
#3 Jabez wanted God’s power.
“Let your Hand be with me”.
Jesus promised to be with us - Matthew 28:20 (NIV) – And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
This was a very wise prayer.
Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) – So he said to me, This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty”.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV) – I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Jesus said in:
John 15:5 (Ampl) – I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
Without God’s presence we can do nothing. We must live under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1-4 (LB) – We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. 2 This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. 3 For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. 4 He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor.
#4 Jabez wanted God’s protection.
“and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me!!”
Our sins don’t hurt God, they hurt us. We need protection from ourselves.
God doesn’t change when I sin. I change when I continue to sin.
What Jabez understood was this:
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
There’s good reason to stand strong.
The key to the last line in verse 10 of 1 Chronicles 4, “and God granted his request”.
Is this: It wasn’t a selfish me-centred prayer.
His desire was to be an abundant, fruitful, God glorifying person.
That changed lives because of his life.
How willing are you to pray this prayer? Are you really willing to count the cost? If you do your life will never be the same again.
#1 Bless me indeed.
#2 Enlarge my area of influence.
#3 Put Your hand of power upon me.
#4 Keep me from evil that it might not hurt me.