1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (Berean Study Bible)
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘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.’ 10 And God granted his request.
We have a bad habit of making our prayers formulaic. ‘Dear God,’ and ‘Heavenly Father’ suddenly become ‘Amen’ and ‘in His name we pray’ before we even realize what’s happening. In fact, some of our prayers are so thin and ritualistic that they cease to be the incredible things they really are: words spoken unto the King of the whole Universe!
Hidden away in the beginning chapters of 1 Chronicles lies a subtle but beautiful scene that captures the dual natures of prayer. Jabez, a descendant of Judah, was an honorable man that stood out against his many brothers. By all accounts, it appears the man named ‘sorrow’ was in fact a light and beacon of Christ to all who knew him.
What did Jabez do when faced with trials, hardship, and sorrow? He cried out! Not quietly weeping, or hiding in shame, or full of self-pity. Instead, he lifted his voice to the One who he knew would hear him: Christ Jesus!
There are four primary points of Jabez’s prayer or ‘crying out’ that we can learn from today.
1. Bless Me
Jabez reminds readers all throughout the prayer that nothing is really about us at all. In fact, he continuously asks God for the power to go on, despite what is happening in the world. He asks for God’s strength, not his own.
1. Enlarge My Territory
Rather than asking for money, fame, or wealth, Jabez asked God to ‘enlarge his territory.’ In a modern sense, this would include asking the Lord for faith to move forward in confidence. Jabez trusted that the Lord would deliver Him great things, so long as he would follow Him in faith. This is a faith that truly moves mountains!
3. Let Your Hand Be With Me
Ask God to be close to you through every day and every hardship. Ask that His will would guide you throughout the journey of life, and that His grand plans for your time on Earth would be fulfilled in you.
4. Keep Me From Harm
Jabez once again asks the Lord for the peace that surpasses all understanding, and seeks to place a wing of protection over himself and his family.
The important takeaway from these points is that God not only heard the cries of Jabez, but He answered them too. In fact, 1 Chronicles 1:10 tells us that “God granted his requests”! This has serious implications for the Christian. Our prayers are always heard by God, and are an integral part of growth in the faith. We must learn to cry out like Jabez before we begin to become mature Christians.
The Hebrew word for ‘cry out’ or ‘make a loud noise’ is shava. This word is best interpreted as a cry for help, connoting ‘freedom from some trouble’ or simply ‘freedom.’ Doesn’t that sound incredible? To rely on the Lord to provide us freedom from our worries, fears, and troubles today? Friends, let us cry out to the Lord like Jabez!
How can you pray like Jabez this morning? Are there ways you can use his love of the Lord to encourage your own heart? What about the hearts of others? Allow God’s perspective of prosperity to transform your life today, beloved. You never know what He has in store for you!
Genesis 12:2 (New English Standard Version)
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Psalm 119:73 (Berean Study Bible)
73 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.