Much has been written about the prayer of Jabez and many have seen it as a prayer for getting things from God! The book missed the point! It is not about the prayer of Jabez but about the God who heard his prayer and kept His covenant promises to be Israel’s God!
This book was written by Ezra after the Babylonian exile. This can be seen as praying for God’s will over our lives. God’s covenant to Jabez and Israel is fulfilled in Jesus. This 2 verse passage reveals some hope for us today! Even though Judah was a rebellious tribe that suffered captivity they were brought back. Jabez is a significant picture of God’s mercy. “Despite his hard luck beginning, he was honored because of his relationship with God.”
1. Who was Jabez?
He was honored above his brothers. He was so honored that they named a town after him – v2: 55. We learn that his inheritance was by faith over heritage. Jabez didn’t receive materially but received God’s provision to successfully traverse life! This is not to be seen as a private blessing prayer, but a cry to God to bless him as a member of God’s covenant people!
His name means pain or sorrow! Just like the curse of Genesis 3 his mother bore him in pain. We all come into the world the same as Jabez - under the curse of sin! As Jabez states in his prayer, he is afraid that his name would be prophetic and he does not want that to be!
Jabez was a faithful follower of the God of Israel and his legacy can be seen in the fact that a town is named for him. The scribes that lived there continued to be impacted by his life and witness!
Can I say that Jabez was a disciple maker!
Jabez knew how to approach God. So this prayer is coming from one who is prepared to meet God (sacrifices made = confession – thanksgiving - ready to worship!).
Note: God promises us provision not necessarily prosperity. Jesus told us and Paul reminds us that we will have trouble in this life! Jabez lived in a time when God had promised destruction as a consequence for rebellion. Jabez had reason to fear. In this setting, for Jabez provision was prosperity! His desire was for God to transform his heart (to be like God’s heart) so he could endure the times. And Jabez knew that God would only answer from His will not Jabez’ wishes!
2. What does it mean to pray like Jabez?
It means being whole-hearted in devotion to God and living in that personal relationship! Without a relationship with God nothing else matters.
Jabez discovered that ordinary, personal, everyday needs can be brought to God; he cried out and God granted his request!
Jabez teaches us that we should be praying without ceasing!
3. How We Can Pray Like Jabez!
What did Jabez pray for?
A. That God would bless him! Jabez knew that only God can bless! God alone can give grace, mercy and blessings – He must be our only source!
B. That God would enlarge his coast. Today, many see this as a materialistic prayer but it is not! Jabez was asking for greater insight, wisdom and truth and that God would use him greatly! Oh, to have that enlarged heart!
C. That God would be with him. That God would keep him from being a Jabez. God walking with us keeps us from evil!
D. That God would keep him from evil. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, and all the evil designs of his enemies.
To pray like Jabez we must see God in all His power and glory. We must seek Him to give us the heart of Christ so we too can be used more for His glory. We must pray for God protection and live under His provisions so we don’t fall into evil!
1. Can you describe your prayer life as fervent? How about
2. Do you see this prayer as one of seeking material gain or
as a prayer that is seeking God?
3. When you ask for blessing, what do you mean?
Material gain or God’s will?
4. What makes one more honored in your opinion?