As Christians, we can look to the Bible for many things, including guidance on approaching our lives and prayers. The Bible is a valuable resource, as it tells the stories of thousands of ancient people who came to know God and his holy son Jesus Christ.
And as we all approach God's word with different perspectives and experiences, we draw inspiration and wisdom from different people.
So in this article, we want to explore one of these people — Jabez. Specifically, we'll cover who Jabez was, what the prayer of Jabez was, and what you can learn from it.
Jabez was a minor Bible character who appeared in the Old Testament. Jabez was included in a section that describes David's lineage, as he is one of David's descendants. He was also said to have drawn inspiration and courage from the story of David and Goliath.
The Bible first mentions Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9, where he's described as "more honorable than his brethren" because he has a very close relationship with God.
In this passage, we also learn that Jabez's name comes from the pain he caused his mother in childbirth, as "Jabez" means "he makes sorrow" in Hebrew. Jabez's name is a sort of prophecy for his life, except he defies his destiny by surrendering to God.
In essence, Jabez was a man who understood God's true design for worship and prayer.
Jabez's prayer is precisely what it sounds like — a prayer Jabez made to the God of Israel in a time of need.
Jabez's prayer is very short, but it contains a lot of meaning. As a true believer, Jabez appreciated the magnitude of God's power completely. He also showed true devotion and understanding of God's design for prayer.
As Jabez showed rare and honorable qualities, God answered Jabez's prayer. This makes it an important reminder for Christians, as we know it's God's will that we pray like Jabez.
You can find the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10. It reads as follows:
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
Before we explore what we can take from Jabez's prayer today, let's dissect it section-by-section.
There are four key parts to Jabez's prayer.
First, Jabez asks God to bless him when he says, "oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed."
Next, Jabez asks God to enlarge his territory by asking that God "enlarge my coast." It's important to note that Jabez was likely referring to his spirituality and capacity to worship God here, not land.
Jabez then asks that God stay close to him, asking "and that thine hand be with me."
Finally, Jabez finishes his prayer by fully surrendering to God and asking to be delivered from pain. Here, he says, "that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me."
It's interesting to note that Jabez doesn't say "Amen" in his prayer, though the word "Amen" first appears in the Bible in the book of Numbers.
In the final sentence of 1 Chronicles 4:10, we learn that God grant's Jabez's prayer, as it reads, "And God granted him that which he requested."
From this, we know that Jabez's prayer was special. So what can we learn from it as Christians?
We see in Jabez's prayer that he prays to God and God alone. From this, we know that God's blessings only come from Him.
We can carry this message into our daily lives as a reminder we should prioritize God and His will for us over Satan's temptations. This is especially important when vulnerable and stressed, as we are weaker against temptations like anger.
For example, it's easy to fall into the temptation of anger when your child makes a mess. But you should resist that temptation because it doesn't come from the Holy Spirit, and it won't lead you to a blessed life.
Instead, you should look to God's word through Bible study, reading devotionals, and listening to podcasts that bring you closer to God.
We see in Jabez's prayer that he asks God to lead him with "thine hand" rather than simply asking God to grant his wishes.
From this, we know that we should ask our Father to lead us to provision and blessings instead of simply asking him to give them to us. As God granted Jabez's prayer, we know that it's His will that we seek His guidance and work for our blessings here on earth.
We can use this message to make our prayers more powerful. For example, if you face a challenging situation with a friend, you should pray for the strength to resolve the situation yourself, rather than pray for God to resolve the problem.
In his prayer, Jabez submitted himself wholly to God. This is a very vulnerable move for Jabez, as he accepts that his life is entirely in God's hands.
As Christians, we can draw a powerful message from this: we need to give up trying to manage things out of our control. Just as Jabez submitted himself to God, we need to submit ourselves to our creator.
And if we trust in God through daily worship and prayer, He'll guide us through life as he guided Jabez.
Finally, we see that Jabez asks God to "keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." Here, he isn't asking for superhuman strength or immunity from pain — he is showing vulnerability and asking for God's guidance.
From this, we know that we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable when we pray. Like Jabez, we should also abandon our fear and pride and admit our vulnerability through prayer.
We should also pray proudly.
Jabez wasn't ashamed of his prayer or his love for God. So like him, we should pray frequently and proudly both every day and on special days like the National Day of Prayer.
While Jabez is only featured briefly in the Bible, he shows us what a powerful prayer looks like. And as Christians, we can draw inspiration from Jabez's prayers every day. It shows us we are to: