Model Prayer Jabez

Biblical Models Of Prayer: Jabez


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“9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.” 1 Chron. 4:9-10 NASB
 
This little vignette, tucked away among the genealogies of the Chronicler, spawned a best-selling book at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, the best seller missed the point of the story, which reinforces some of the Chronicler’s key themes. The Chronicler tells us that Jabez, a descendant of Judah, was more honored than his brothers.  That honor was surprising given his naming, for Jabez was named for pain. Yet, as his story unfolded, the pain that surrounded his birth was not what defined him. Jabez prayed and God transformed his situation from curse to blessing.
 
The point is not that Jabez’s prayer has some kind of magic power in its words. The point is that God has awesome power to change a person’s destination from curse to blessing. We are all like Jabez, born under a curse, headed toward a life of pain and futility. But God has the power to rescue us from that fate.  Jabez prays to be kept from evil so that the pain of the curse might not come upon him. God hears and answers his prayer, and he is blessed.
 
So we should certainly pray like Jabez did, trusting God to transform our native curse into a blessing. But we are to pray remembering God’s promise to conform us to the life of Jesus, whose way to blessing runs through the path of suffering first, glory later. We can pray in His name knowing that He is even now praying for us in heaven.