The Prayer of Jabez

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me.
So God granted him what he requested.

[1 Chronicles 4:10]

At Thanksgiving, we are reminded to express gratitude for our many blessings. Living in a land of such beauty and abundance, that is easy to do for most Canadians. Mark 11:24 tells us, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This means that instead of praying, “God. Please provide for me and my family” one should pray, “I praise you God for your provision.” Pray with gratitude as though it has already been given unto you, and you will receive it. This leap of faith requires the childlike faith that Jesus told us we must have.

Of course, it is God’s nature to bless. Only we limit his bounty with an imperfect faith. In the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, the descendants of the Hebrew tribes are introduced, beginning with Adam. In Chapter 4, one meets Jabez. He is a descendent of Judah.

The name Jabez means, “Because I bore him in pain.” His mother chose his name because his was a particularly painful childbirth. It is written that Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, yet still he was cursed with an unfortunate name. In Biblical times a man’s name prophesied his future. Jabez chose to disregard his pain-filled name and ask for God’s blessing. “Oh, that You would bless me indeed.” His direct request to God changed his once-ordinary life and left a permanent mark on the history books of Israel. He died an extraordinary man.

When was the last time you asked God to bless you? Is it presumptuous to ask God to bless us? Jabez also asked that God enlarge his territory. “…and enlarge my territory…” When one asks God to enlarge his or her territory the influence he or she can have on the lives of others for God will expand. God will entrust that individual with a greater territory for Christ’s work if only that person asks.

Of course, Jabez knew he couldn’t do anything without God’s presence and influence. “…that Your hand would be with me…” The touch of God comforts people when life expands just as Jabez needed God’s grace in his life as things began to change for him.

Was it because Jabez asked to be blessed and challenged by God that he was? I believe so, yes. God favours those who ask. He holds back nothing from those who are willing to walk with Him and who earnestly want what He wants. Perhaps then, it matters not how one asks but only that one has the faith and the courage to ask.

It is said that when one prays the Prayer of Jabez one finds that he or she will live a life marked with God’s blessings, supernatural provisions, and divine providence at the precise moment they are needed. It may just be worth a try.

I wish all a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving in this great land of ours.

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