Have you ever heard of the prayer of Jabez? It’s a short prayer found in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 4:10. 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.” And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles is full of a list of descendants, and I’ve been guilty of glossing them over since they are names I never heard of before. The list seems to go on forever, so if you’re like me, you might have missed two little verses tucked inside chapter 4.
These verses are the only time a man named Jabez is mentioned. There isn’t much information about him, but we know that he was honorable and loved the Lord. In verse 9, it mentions that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez because she gave birth to him in pain. His name, “Jabez,” actually means pain or sorrow, so every time his name was spoken, he would have been reminded that he had been marked.
Even though his mother marked him as pain and sorrow, Jabez seemed to know that the Lord knew him differently. Jabez’s prayer consists of four elements. He asks that the Lord bless him, enlarge his territory, let the Lord’s hand be with him, and keep him from harm and free of pain.
This simple prayer encompasses so much and is a great model for all of us. When we pray for God’s blessings, we shouldn’t just ask for more stuff or better circumstances for ourselves. We should also ask that God use us as a blessing to bless others.
It would be speculation on my part, but I think Jabez is asking God to expand his influence and reach, to give him opportunities to serve others and share God’s love. Jabez’s territory might have been small, but by expanding it, he could impact more people.
Jabez also asks for God’s protection. He recognized there were dangers in this world and that he needed God’s help to stay safe. It’s important to remember that God is always with us and that we can trust Him to protect us, no matter what comes our way.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
These verses, like the prayer of Jabez, remind us that God is a generous and loving God who desires to bless us and meet our needs.
Jabez is often held up as an example of a person who lived a life of faith and trust in God despite his challenges and difficulties. His prayer is a reminder that we can turn to God in prayer and ask for His blessings, protection, and guidance in our lives, no matter our circumstances.