“Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.” - 1 Chronicles 4:10


Let’s spend some time contemplating the efficacy of prayer as we look at the following verse from 1 Chronicles 4:10: “Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.


The events that transpired in Jabez's life demonstrate prayer's power in bringing God's blessings into our lives. Jabez was not content with the common or the everyday. He had the desire to receive more from God; and the faith to petition for that more. In his prayer, he requested God to bless him abundantly, to increase the size of his realm, to be with him at all times, and to shield him from the influence of evil.


Jabez was not thinking about himself in his prayer. Instead, he desired to be a source of blessing to everyone around him and not be the cause of any’s discomfort. This teaches us a valuable lesson, the focus of our prayers shouldn't be on our wants or needs.


Jabez's petition was also not a one-off request. He was steadfast in his petitioning of God and believed that the Almighty would hear him. This is an example for us to follow today. Even if we know that God hears us and will respond to us in his own time and in his way, we still need to have the faith to pray persistently.


God Remembers Us


In Scripture, Jabez is a person that epitomizes a deep prayer life. But, in fact, Jabez was an ordinary man with an extraordinary prayer life. He worshipped an extraordinary God and experienced some extraordinary results. Interestingly, Jabez wasn't born to royalty or nobility. He didn't have a great upbringing or education. In fact, he didn't have any huge natural talents or gifts.


Everything about his life suggests that he wouldn’t be known by today's standards. Yet, Jabez is listed among 500 names; his life and prayer have inspired countless people to model their prayers after his. So what's the point? The point is this, like Jabez, we may not have had a fantastic upbringing or natural abilities, but God still remembers our names and has recorded them. 


God is interested in you, and I want you to realize that you matter to God. Other people may not know your name, but God knows your name. 

The Meaning of Jabez


Did you know Jabez means "son of sorrow and pain"?  1 Chronicles 4:10 gives some indication. Some Old Testament scholars suggest there was so much pain during childbirth that Jabez's mother called him “Pain.” However, Jabez did not let the name define him. Instead, he was determined to be resilient. He did not let his name hinder him from asking God to bless him. Jabez was so resilient that he lived above the labels and limitations imposed upon him. 


At one point in our lives or another, many of us are persuaded to give up on an aspiration. We must be like Jabez, determined that we’re not going to allow someone else’s labels to hinder us.


There may even be times when life hurts too much to pray, Jabez has been there, and he is teaching us that life can hurt so much that we better pray. Why?  Because of the pain in your life, you have to say, “God, I need you more than ever.”


This key phrase calls Jabez to stand out in the crowd: "and he was more honorable than his brothers.” The word honorable in Hebrew means “to be heavy or weighty.” This refers to his spiritual strength. 


I want to suggest that you must live above those around you daily. Don’t act like you are better than others but just refuse to live by labels and limitations. 


The Power of Prayer 


Prayer is potent. We can connect with God and ask for his direction, protection, and blessings in our lives through it. The prayer of Jabez is an illustration of how we should pray. With confidence and belief that God will grant the requests that we make.


In this prayer, Jabez asks God for four things: first, he asks God to bless him, and second, he requests God to hear his prayer. Second, he prays to God to increase the size of his domain. Third, he prays to God, asking him to protect and be with him at all times. And fourth, he prays to God to keep him from being the source of suffering for other people.


Let’s look at these requests a bit deeper and see how we may incorporate them into our prayer lives.


“Bless me indeed.”

At the beginning of his prayer, Jabez asks God to bless him in every way possible. This request is significant since it demonstrates that Jabez is not pleased with how things are currently handled. He feels that God is able to provide him with more, and he expresses this desire to God regularly.


When we pray, we must adopt the same frame of mind as Jabez. Limiting ourselves to requesting insignificant things or merely enough to get by is unacceptable. Instead, we should pray to God for His plentiful blessings, mindful that He is a gracious God who takes pleasure in showering His offspring with wonderful presents.

“Increase the size of my domain.”


Jabez's second petition to God is for an expansion of his domain. We can understand this in several ways, but at its heart, it is a prayer asking God to expand Jabez's sphere of influence and increase his impact.


While we are praying, we should be praying for God to increase the size of our land. We need to pray that He will provide us with occasions where we can serve Him and make a positive impact on the lives of others. Additionally, we should pray that He will give us the means necessary to answer the call He has placed on our lives.


“Stay at my side and protect me from harm.”


Jabez's third petition is for God to be with him and protect him from harm. This prayer to God asks for His protection and guidance; both are necessary for any believer who dares to live a life that brings respect to God.


While praying, we should also ask God to be with us and protect us from any harm that may come our way. We need to pray that He will direct us in our choices and shield us from the assaults of our adversary. Additionally, pray that He will endow us with the intelligence and insight to deal with life's difficulties.


“Stop me from being a source of suffering.”


Jabez's final petition to God is that He keeps him from being the source of suffering for other people. This prayer asks God to assist Jabez in leading a life marked by love, kindness, and compassion.


While praying, we should ask God to keep us from being the source of suffering for others. When others around us are going through difficult times, we need to pray and ask God to help us love them the way He loves them; and to be a source of encouragement and support for them.


Truly the prayer of Jabez is an excellent illustration of how we should pray with confidence. Be bold in asking God for more and believing God will grant our requests. That is a prayer of faith.


Now, let’s model our lives after Jabez and make prayer an integral part of each day. Let’s go boldly before the throne of grace and beg God for his blessings, protection, and guidance. Let’s pray for one another and be a source of blessing to others.

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