An Old Testament man, named Jabez, is mentioned but briefly in a long listing of names in I Chronicles 4. But there is a pause at his name before the next name of a long lineage is mentioned, and that pause provides the reader with a small window into one man and the powerful prayer he prayed. It is this pause that Wilkerson's 'Prayer of Jabez' expounds upon.
Jabez prayed a prayer that was so significant that the writer of I Chronicles recorded it. The prayer is a short and concise request to God. Comprising of four parts (to be blessed, for enlarged boundaries, for God's Hand to be with him, and to be kept from evil) it is also recorded in the passage that God answered Jabez's prayer. The prayer of Jabez is a treasure...a showcase flower among the flowers of a field.
Wilkerson examines the four parts of the prayer and encourages the reader to make the prayer their own prayer, too. So far so good. But then Wilkerson provides a personal example of how praying Jabez's prayer brought about great results in his 'ministry'. Wilkerson and his youth group went on a 'mission's trip' to the beaches of Long Island. There they try to wins souls by performing 'gospel magic' and they claim an x number of souls for Christ for that day. Wilkerson's credibilty with me is gone. Nothing he says in the remainder of the book interests me.
Souls are not numbers, people are not numbers, the impact of one's ministry is not significant because of the numbers they bring in. The paradigm Wilkerson represents is incorrect. The prayer that Jabez prayed is not a formula one plugs in to get desired results. Wilkerson encourages the reader to prayer the prayer for 30 days and expect to see amazing reults...stroke the belly of the buddha and get what you want.
From how i read that short passage in I Chronicles 4, Jabez prayed this pray only once, but what it showed was that his heart was desiring God's best and God's protection. Such was the man's character and his pilgrim walk. God answered his prayer because He saw his heart.
This is a verse in the New King James Version of the Bible from 1 Chronicles 4:10. It seems almost misplaced with the more than 500 names of the Hebrew family tree. Bruce Wilkinson explains that Jabez means "pain." Name meanings were a big thing in Jabez's time. A person's name defined him. Jabez wanted what God did in his life to define him, not his name.
Bruce Wilkinson explains the verse, line by line.
Oh that you would bless me indeed It's not wrong to ask for God to bless you the way He wants to bless you. Jabez didn't ask God to bless him with specific things, he just asked to be blessed. This is not being selfish, it's asking God to give you all He has for you.
And enlarge my territory Jabez wanted a bigger "territory" so he could do more for God. He knew he was born for more than just being known as one who caused pain. When our territory gets bigger we are reaching more people for God.
That Your hand would be with me Jabez knew he needed to depend on God to be able to do things for Him. Having God's hand on your life is having God's presence and power. Jabez wanted to be directed by God.
And that You would keep me from evil Jabez knew that with all of God's blessings he might fall into temptation of thinking how great he was. Also, because we are doing what God wants us to do, the devil is going to try to stop us, by sending evil our way.
This book can be misinterpreted very easily. People think that by praying this prayer that they will be blessed with every desire of their heart. The truth is that you will, if you are praying the way God would have you pray. Our goal in life should be to lead others to the saving grace of God that we found. If we are loving God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength like the Bible says, then we will pray Jabez's prayer the way it is intended.
I have been praying this prayer daily for more than ten years because I want live the life God has planned for me and not miss out on any blessings from Him. I want all I do to be directed by God and not let evil keep me from doing all I can for God. You have to read through this book a few times to fully understand what the verse is all about. I would recommend this book for everyone. Check out this book and see how this seemingly misplaced verse can change your prayer life.