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The Prayer of Jabez

Do use it. But in the right way.

A Google search of this topic yields much that is interesting. I would even say insightful. So much so, that I think this one verse is able to reveal more than many others the heart of an individual claiming to be a Christian.

Allow me to demonstrate. Perhaps you will find this a direct application of the following:

  • For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

First of all here is the prayer of Jabez:

  • 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. 1 Chronicles 4:10.

Do you use this prayer? If so why? If not why not? If this is the first time you see this, what is your reaction?

The discussion on this prayer and questions like this make one thing clear: for sure this is an ambiguous prayer. It means different things to different people. On reflection I've concluded that there are just two ways to use this prayer - a very right way, and a clearly wrong way.

Consider this:

  • "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13.

Here then are the two ways this prayer will be used: if you're devoted to money, then you will use this prayer in the hope of personal gain, perhaps as part of a prosperity theology that's very common today. But if you're devoted to God, then you will use this prayer for Him.

Check this out - the prayer is taken in four sections. I've also included several bible versions for comparison:

 
God First Perspective
Money First Perspective
  • Oh, that you would bless me (NIV)
  • Oh that You would bless me indeed (NASB)
  • Oh, that you would bless me (NLT)
  • Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, (KJV)
  • Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, (ASV)
  • Provide me with everything I need to serve You.
  • Give me lots and lots of things,
  • and enlarge my territory!(NIV)
  • and enlarge my border, (NASB)
  • and extend my lands! (NLT)
  • and enlarge my coast, (KJV)
  • and enlarge my border, (ASV)
  • Increase the number of people I help in my service for You.
  • and increase my net worth
  • Let your hand be with me,(NIV)
  • and that Your hand might be with me, (NASB)
  • Please be with me in all that I do,(NLT)
  • and that thine hand might be with me, (KJV)
  • and that thy hand might be with me, (ASV)
  • Be with me in my service to you
  • Be with me as I get more stuff
  • and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.(NIV)
  • and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me! (NASB)
  • and keep me from all trouble and pain(NLT)
  • and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! (KJV)
  • and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it be not to my sorrow! (ASV)
  • Keep me from doing evil, so my service for you is not brought into disrepute.
  • and stop other evil people taking things that are mine

 

Be honest - If you use this prayer how much of the 'God First Perspective' have you considered? If you don't, have you prayed like this anyway? If not why not?

Let me end with an encouragement from Jesus:

  • "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:25-33.

 


John Bell
May 21st 2005
Irvine, California, USA.

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