Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Prayer of Jabez

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"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, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!' So God granted him what he requested" (1 Chronicles 4:10).

How lovely is Your ways O Lord. How lovely is Your statues. Here we see God's willingness to grant His children's request when they call on and beg Him with all their hearts. God will never leave anyone in need of His help or blessings.

The prayer of Jabez teaches us so many things about God's ways in dealing with His children. Although Jabez was not a major or minor prophet in the Holy Bible and mentioned only once in the Holy Bible as a person who is honorable, God never ceased to grant his request. Why?

Jabez was sincere about his request and was full of love for God. He trusted that God can do all these things and more. In order to understand the depth of his request. Let us break down his request (1 Chronicles 4:10) into sections:

I. "You would bless me indeed"

"For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright" (Psalm 11:7).

  1. How does God bless us?
  2. What type of blessing was Jabez looking for?
  3. How do we acquire such a blessing?

When God gives any type of blessing, His goal for us is to grow in knowledge about His ways and to share it with others. In the Old Testament people were called blessed when God gave them an inheritance, children (boys), protection from evil things, and blessings from father to son. But as Christians we look at a blessing in many aspects. It can be internal such as grace, love, mercy, spiritual gifts or external such as blessing our children's life, our home, our work place, etc.

Jabez did not ask for any type of blessing. Instead he left the choice entirely to God because he believes in his heart that God is full of love, goodness, and generosity and He will know what is best.

God gives many blessings to everyone such as the air we breathe, the rain, the sun, and all our basic needs. Yet when someone asks, He delights in giving especially when we leave it up to Him.

Many people have a hard time making such a request for different reasons such as:

  • Feel unworthy for God to grant such blessings
  • Went through painful memories of childhood
  • Full of doubtful thoughts that God can do anything
  • Never experienced unconditional love
  • Full of self-reliance

Regardless of the reason, In order to acquire a special blessing from God we must humble ourselves and cling to God and be obedient to His words.

II. "Enlarge my territory"

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you" (Matthew 7:7).

  • What did Jabez mean by expanding his territory?
  • Why do I want to expand my territory?
  • Why does God love to answer such a request?

At first reading, it sounds like Jabez is asking God for more land, livestock, influence, reputation, and comfort for himself. When we continue read that God granted his request, quickly we realize that he is asking to do more, not for himself but for God's glory and purpose.

As humans, sometimes we are tired and overwhelmed by life's demands and have no time to expand our territory. Yet God is not asking us to be stressed and overwhelmed. On the contrary, He is trying to show us a new way of dealing with every day matters in conjunction with the opportunity to be part of God's glory and purpose.

Do not be caught with excuses such as not having time, not able to change, or having nothing to offer, etc. instead allow God to guide you, help you achieve, and arrange your life in a better way. By doing this, you to be a better person, mother, husband, coworker, servant, etc.

Remember as Christians and children of God, He will be pleased to answer our request to do more for Him. He will supply us with energy and many opportunities to do more for Him. He will help us to step out of our comfort zone in order to help someone in need through a word of comfort or just a smile.

III. "Your hand would be with me"

"that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever" (Joshua 4:24).

This is the most precious verse to ask God to hold your hand in every circumstance, every decision, andy every step you take. Without His hand, we will have overwhelming responsibilities and circumstances that we can not handle alone. Although the disciples walked with the Lord Jesus Christ on earth for three years and saw His work of casting out demons and healing the sick, they could not start their ministry before the day of the Pentecost; when God's hand empowered them by the Holy Spirit to go and do marvelous things.

IV. "You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain"

"But do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen" (Matthew 6:13).

Jabez recognized that the expansion of his territory without God's assistance in His life would result in greater responsibility and endangerment of his relationship with God. As Christians we believe that evil is all around us and waiting to snatch one of us in any moment. Therefore without clinging to God and seeking His protection, we are very vulnerable and risk having eternal death.

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma" (Ephesians 5:2).

Finally do not be deprived to walk in the Spirit and be filled with it from knowing God better, experiencing what He can do, and seeing His hand in action. And keep to heart that whatever task God will require from us, big or small, He surely will provide all our needs.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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