- Religion and Philosophy
The prayer of Jabez
1 Chronicles 4 vs 9
"Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.1 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."
I have heard many people speak about the Jabez prayer. This man has been the subject of many sermons but in the bible his whole life is summarized in the two verses above. Although there is not much written about him in the bible these two verses tell us a lot about the character and life of Jabez and why he was such a blessed man.
An honorable man
The text tells us that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. The context of this text shows us that Jabez was a Godly man, his character was pure and his ways were blameless. This is the first reason why Jabez was such a blessed man because of his conduct and character. Psalm 1 tells us that if you want to be a blessed man you should pay attention and be careful who you walk with, talk with and sit with, the delight of your heart should be to meditate on the word of God day and night.
Although Jabez was an honorable man he surely wasn't perfect for "all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God" but because Jabez was seeking first the kingdom of God he was regarded by God as an honorable man. God is good and he justifies us by his grace.
A life marked by pain
Jabez 's name means pain, sorrow or grief because his mother said that she bore him in pain. According to Jewish custom a male son was to be named on the eighth day and circumcised during this ceremony, although Jabez had other brothers as we are told by the text the pain that his mother went through during his birth was so severe that even after eight days the memory was still fresh in his mother's mind that she named him Jabez. A name is a very powerful thing it can be considered as prophetic and may be said to determine the destiny of the person holding the name. She was therefore making a prediction about his destiny saying that it would be characterized by sorrow and pain or that he would cause sorrow and pain.
Even though his life was characterized by pain God blessed him. God is able to bless through, past and in spite of the pain. Sometimes when we go through pain we draw closer to God. Psalms 119 vs 71 says that It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Notice he says it was good for me not to me. To be able to get light a candle must burn. Sometimes we develop and see greatness inside us when we go through challenges.
Let your hand be with me
Although his life was marked by pain Jabez prayed. This is the reason why he is celebrated by many Christians. He prayed and God answered his prayer and he still does. Situations are turned around when we pray. He prays for two things himself and that his borders may be enlarged that God may make room for him. He prayed believing that God is willing and very able to answer prayer. Jabez not only wanted provision but he also wanted the hand of God to constantly be with him because provision without presence can lead to problems. An example that was given by Jesus about the prodigal son shows us the effects of not having God's presence in our lives. It is important to stay close to the source of all the blessings in your life.
That I may be free from pain
This statement might be interpreted as keep me from evil that I might not cause pain. He is asking God to protect himself from himself, that he may not fulfill the meaning of his name. Sometimes there is evil in our hearts and minds and we may need to make this prayer so that we may be delivered from our evil desires.
And God granted what he asked.
Courtesy of Rev H.B Charles