Posted by: rosanneromero | February 15, 2010

The Prayer of Jabez

How does the prayer of Jabez go?.

1 Chronicles 4:10

“And Jabez called to the God of Israel, saying, If indeed You would bless me, and make my border larger, and Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil so that it may not grieve me!”

I was talking to an old college friend who now uses this verse like a charm.  She has it tucked in her wallet and she brings it out when she finds the stocks she’s invested in are going down.  Another person I know uses it as her morning prayer and is at it with such a fever because she has credit card payments to make.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just a wee bit uncomfortable about using the prayer of Jabez in that way.  I’m also really uneasy about being absorbed in “enlarging territory.”

I KNOW the Lord prospers people.  I’ve seen Him do it, so I know for a fact that He does. .  I can UNDERSTAND that God provides.   And I COMPREHEND everything about  tent making and all that jazz   But to make prosperity a preoccupation,   disturbs me. A LOT.

Some decades ago, no one really knew who Jabez was.  I mean, he wasn’t a household word.  During a relatively humdrum period in the history of Israel, a simple man named Jabez prayed a candid and upfront prayer for favor and blessing.

I wish I could have a chat with Mrs. Jabez.  I want to know — when they prayed this, what were the other things on their mind?  Besides the blessings of widened territories, what else did God bring in?  I can’t believe it’s all just about prosperity in terms of physical substance.

When Bruce Wilkinson wrote the book, I don’t think he expected people to latch on to the first part of the book and read no further and inquire of God no further than just praying for territories to be enlarged— that is,  for more clients to multiply, for cash to pour in, for windfalls to come.  I have culled many insights from Bruce Wilkinson’s books (he has more than Jabez ok).

If I am asked to share my insights about Jabez,  I  will not say that what I learned from it is a formula prayer on how to OBTAIN wealth. From Jabez we see one small part of God’s character in the way He responded to  prayer.

Are we to be impacted only by one man’s prayer for wealth in terms of widening territory?  Scripture tells us of other people whose prayers God responded to — David, Moses,   and Gideon, to name a few.   It’s not about Jabez stumbling on a prayer format that got him the enlarged territory he so wanted.  It’s about a God who is with us as He was with David when he slew Goliath.  As He was with Moses when he led the Israelites out of Egypt, as he was with Gideon when He helped Gideon win a battle with only 300 men.

So it’s really not about one man composing an ingenious a prayer format that gave him what he wanted.  It’s  about a God who responds to people who humble themselves before Him, who consecrate their lives to Him, who aim  to do His will with all their heart and with their entire mind.  Was not that the God you and your husband prayed to, Mrs Jabez?

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