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Prayer of Jabez Explained

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

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The prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. There are only two verses in the Bible about Jabez. There is a long list of the descendants of Judah in 1 Chronicles 4:1-8. When it came to Jabez's listing in verse 9, there is a description of him unlike the others on the list.

"Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.”

In order to understand the prayer of Jabez, it helps to know why he prayed that prayer. His name means "pain." His own mother named him that because of the pain she endured when she gave birth to him.

Jabez could have accepted his fate by asking his mother to change his name or he could have accepted that his life would be parallel to his name. Jabez kept his name, but he prayed to God that his life would be different from what his name would calling forth for him. Therefore, Jabez cried out to the God of Israel with four requests in that very short prayer.

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory. Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”

It says in the same verse, "And God granted his request."

Jabez's prayer was short, and what is said about God's answer is even shorter. Then the writer of the chronicles continues with the list of descendants, and Jabez is not mentioned anymore in the Bible.

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'Bless Me Indeed'

Jabez did not just pray for God to bless him. He prayed, "Bless me indeed." That's a stronger and more serious request than merely saying "Bless me." Once Jabez said indeed, he was praying that God would bless him anyway He chose. He did not box God in. Instead, Jabez was indicating for God to do what God needed to do to bless him -- indeed!

Jabez requested God to bless him greatly, exceedingly, or abundantly and beyond what he could ask or imagine. He is leaving it up to God to use the means necessary to bless him. The request is similar to "Thy Will be done" in the Lord's Prayer.

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Many think that Jabez is simply requesting physical land and wealth. Territory was a metaphor for more opportunities to serve God. Jabez wanted his spiritual territory to increase so he could serve God in a greater capacity.

The analogy of increasing one's territory is similar to what is done when a circus goes to different places. If the location is small, the tent pegs are closer together for the tents. If space is larger, then the pegs can be spread out so the area can be bigger. In fact, some versions of the Bible say, "Enlarge my borders or coasts." In other words, more space is needed to do what God wants you to do.

'Put Your Hand Upon Me'

Jabez wanted to feel God's presence every moment of every day. Therefore, he asked God to put his hand on him to let him know God was near. He wanted God's powerful hand to protect him and to lead him in the right direction.

Jabez prayed for God's hand to be on him in advance of getting into trouble. It is always wise to pray before trouble comes instead of waiting until you are in the midst of it to cry out to God.

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'Keep Me From Harm'

Jabez was born in pain. His mother gave him a name that every time Jabez heard his name, he would be reminded of what it meant. That's why he prayed for God to keep him from harm in spite of his name.

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'And God Granted Him What He Requested'

Jabez was cursed at birth, but he found out he didn't have to live under that curse. Crying out to God to reverse the curse was the best thing for Jabez to do. We know that is true because the end of 1 Chronicles 4:10 says, "And God granted what Jabez had requested."

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Book by Bruce Wilkerson

The Prayer of Jabez, by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, is a little book of only 93 pages that was published in 2000. The entire title is The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life. The book is based on the prayer of Jabez as it is recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.

Wilkerson encouraged disciples of Christ to pray. Then he admonished them to focus their prayers on serving in the Kingdom of God and not on personal desires.

Comments

charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on June 29, 2018:

thank you

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 29, 2018:

Charlie, apology accepted

Charlie, apology accepted!

charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on June 29, 2018:

m- you are correct , i owe you an apology, please forgive me I completely missed the last two sentences. I assumed you were bringing up the false teaching on this from 20 or so years ago. And we both know what to assume does. I will reread at least twice before commenting. Your articles are definately becoming more valueable

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 29, 2018:

Charlie, you missed two things in my article. For of all, I used "followers of Christ" that you usually recommend. Secondly, I never advised anybody to pray another man's prayer. I outlined what Jabez prayed according to the two scriptures about him in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. I NEVER suggested anyone should pray his prayer.

Perhaps you read the article in haste and neglected to see those two points. It would be helpful if your comments in the future would be on what I wrote instead of what I did NOT write.

charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on June 29, 2018:

why would a follower of Christ want to pray another man's prayer. A real disciple of Christ has a PERSONAL relationship with Christ because they are of one Spirit and pray his own prayer if led by the Holy Spirit , which a real disciple must be.

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