“Jabez called out to the God of Israel: “If only you would bless me, extend my border, let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not experience pain. And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10 CSB
This little gem is found in the heart of the lineage of Judah. It is very easy to skim over and miss completely. Jabez “was more honored than his brothers” and his mother “gave birth to him in pain” (1 Chronicles 4:9 CSB). His name literally means “sorrowful”. But Jabez knew a life centered on God is not sorrowful, so he prayed this prayer.
There are four parts to the prayer of Jabez. First he asks for God to bless him. Then he asks for God to extend his border; he wants God to increase his responsibilities. Third he asks God to be with him in all he does. Lastly, he’s asking God to keep him from harm so that he will not experience pain. Jabez’s wisdom is evident in the things he asks for, he realizes nothing can be done without God at the center of it.
We all struggle to keep God at the center of our lives. In our modern world, it can seem as if God isn’t necessary. Even worse, we may think our problems aren’t worthy to bring to the throne of God. The hardest concept I’ve had to understand in my walk with God is that it is all small stuff to God. There is nothing God can’t handle. There is nothing God doesn’t have a plan for in this world. There is nothing God doesn’t know. That can be really challenging to believe when we’re in the midst of the dark days of life, and we all have them. No one is exempt. The days may be dark for different reasons, but they are still dark.
But the prayer of Jabez reminds us, God is faithful to those who seek Him. You can pray this prayer just as Jabez did, expecting God to answer. I have it written out on my prayer board as a continual prayer. This devotional reminded me of its power. Whatever challenge you are facing today, whatever dreams you are dreaming, cry out to God like Jabez. Put Him at the center of it and watch Him work.
Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book that looks at this prayer in great detail. I love this line from it that should motivate us all:
“Attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed…unless God steps in!”
Go for it!