The Prayer of Jabez

JabezHave you ever heard of a Biblical character named Jabez? Or for that matter the Prayer of Jabez? I hadn’t. I must confess to having ever recalled even reading this particular biblical section before, which shows the gaps in my learning, but there lay the mention of both.

I have to backtrack at this point, to a devotional passage I read several days ago, 1 Chronicles 5-9, which literally goes like this; three whole chapter’s worth:

 And the sons of so and so were: (list)

 And the sons of …(list)

 And the sons of… etc. etc. (list)

Starting into the fourth chapter is where I came across Jabez & the prayer of Jabez:

 9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.

 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

 And I thought how odd this mention is? In fact here is what I wrote (verbatim) into my study notes at the time:

“Why, of all those in these lists, besides the likes of Peleg above, this particular person is singled out and made mention of in such a specific way, I don’t know; here is a specific record of the righteousness of one particular person for whatever divine reason(s). I notice from a quick perusal of the various commentaries, many authors comment and make a point of this passage which has become known as The Prayer of Jabez.”

I prayed at the time that the Lord might reveal the seeming significance and thought not much further on the subject; except I did find myself a couple of times pondering a bit in thought until the next event happened.

Several days later I had just dropped my dog to the groomer when I decided to check out a small thrift shop which I infrequently visit, in the same shopping complex several doors down. I was looking for some books on a subject I was researching.

As I was perusing the book shelves of the thrift shop, having already made three choices, I was taken back to find a small book on the shelves titled, The Prayer of Jabez, Breaking Through to the Blessed Life, by Bruce Wilkinson. I must confess my ignorance of both author and book but my interest was again piqued.

I simply had to grab for the book. I needed to find out what this mysterious prayer of Jabez that had suddenly popped into my life, was all about.

I was astonished as the opening sections I began to thumb through of this small book read:

“…the long lists of unfamiliar and difficult names—more than five hundred of them—are likely to make even the bravest Bible student turn back.(referring to I  Chronicles 1-9)

 “I’d forgive you if you suddenly considered putting this little book aside and reaching for your TV remote. But stay with me. Because forty-four names in the chapter (chap. 4) a story suddenly breaks through” (and the author quotes both the mention of the name and the prayer of Jabez. (See verses 9 & 10 above.)

 “Something about this man Jabez had caused the historian to pause in middrone, clear his throat, and switch tactics. “Ah, wait a minute!” he seems to interject. “You just gotta know something about this guy named Jabez. He stands head and shoulders above the rest!”

 Ah, almost my reaction of several days previously, exactly.

I purchased the book for a whopping .50 cents, the same price I paid for each of my three other previously chosen items and read the entire book later that night: It’s not terribly long, seven modest chapters in all.

For the author the Prayer of Jabez amounts to a breakthrough prayer meant to increase one’s appropriation of God’s blessing in our walk and service for the Lord. For me, I feel tremendously challenged by the author’s case and I have begun to claim that odd prayer personally. The verdict is still out for me on this one but I definitely feel the Lord’s having led to in this experience. I definitely promise to keep you update on personal breakthroughs.

You might want to check it out.

(From In 52 Bible studies series)
© Copyright 2012 John Hislop

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