The first nine chapters of the first book of Chronicles is that part of the Bible that people will often pass over because it mundanely lists the entire family tree of the Hebrew tribes, beginning with Adam and proceeding through thousands of years to Israel’s return from captivity. The list goes on and on for more than 500 hard-to-pronounce and unfamiliar names. You will be astounded, and bored. However, there is a little sidebar story in verses 9 and 10 of Chapter 4 (listed below). It’s the story that Bruce Wilkinson wrote a whole little book about, The Prayer of Jabez. It’s a story and book that changed my prayer life and I believe the trajectory of my family though prayer.
The simple prayer of Jabez in verse 10 can be broken down into four components. Each of these becomes a key part of a 4-part framework that is memorable, powerful and useful in praying for oneself as well as any one of your choosing. What a gift to have someone pray these keys for you. It is a gift I give daily to my wife and family, now three grown children, their spouses and our four grandchildren. Take note and marvel at the simplicity yet profound depth of request and petition. It we take prayer seriously, as Christ did and modeled for us in communicating with the Father and Creator of all things, then take this to heart and transform your life and that of your loved ones.
1. Blessing Today – Oh that you would greatly bless me!
To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. “The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it.” (Proverbs 10:22). We completely place full trust and faith in God’s will, not ours. We want nothing more or less than what He wants. This is not spiritual gold digging; rather it is yielding to our Good Father whose nature is to love. He finds no obstacles in this selfless prayer.
2. Territory Expansion – Oh that you would enlarge my territory!
Now ask God to enlarge one’s life so one can make a greater impact for Him. More influence, more responsibility, more opportunity to make a mark for the Kingdom. Territory can be translated coast or borders, with meanings similar to words homestead or frontier to American pioneers. Your business, home, family, contact circle is the territory God has entrusted to you. Ask God for expansion of your life’s impact across new territory.
3. God’s Guidance – Oh that your hand would be with me!
Now release God’s power to accomplish His will and bring Him glory through even apparent impossibilities. When God’s blessings come and borders get expanded, we need a divine hand giving peace and direction. Asking for His power and presence is a strategic and obedient choice to sustain and continue great things He is doing in our life. Surrender and give up all your motions and decision-making to our wise God.
4. God’s Protection – Oh that you would keep me from evil!
Success brings opportunity for failure. In the spiritual realm, success makes us open targets to the enemy who seeks to destroy, distract, oppose and oppress all that is good, blessed and of divine influence. Jesus prayed for deliverance: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Plead for spiritual, physical and emotional safekeeping as we’re prone and susceptible to deception and blind spots.
Have you prayed honorably for your family today?
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain. And Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would greatly bless me and expand my territory! May your hand be with me. Keep me from harm so I might not endure pain!” God answered his prayer. – 1 Chronicles 4:9-10