In the midst of family trees found in 1 Chronicles, we find verse 10 of chapter 4, often called the “Prayer of Jabez.” This prayer is not a magical formula to receive God’s blessings. Rather, this sincere and heart-felt prayer is more of an example of praying in honesty and fervency.
Backing up to verse 9, we find that Jabez more honorable than his brothers, although the Bible doesn’t give us a clue as how his brothers were dishonorable or if they just were not as honorable as Jabez. What is apparent, is that Jabez took his faith in God seriously and knew that blessings came from God. So what did Jabez ask for? He asked for God’s blessing, to give him more land, that God’s hand would be with him, that God would keep him from evil and that he would cause no one pain.
To ask God to bless us is asking God to give us good things. The Greek word translated blessed in the Sermon on the Mount means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances. Certainly there is an elements of material blessings, such as wealth, successful career, a loving marriage relationship, health, good children, etc., but our true blessings are more spiritual in nature. Earthly blessings can come and go, but spiritual blessings are eternal. In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew chapter 5, we find that those who are blessed are those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and those who are reviled and persecuted. Doesn’t’ sound like much of a blessing, does it? The blessing is not in the trail or suffering itself. We find the blessing as the trail we are going through opens the door for God to show us His love, protection, provision, and grace. Luke 11:28 says we are blessed when we hear the Word of God and keep it. Romans 4:7 says we are blessed when we are forgiven. James 1:12 says we are blessed if we stay steadfast under trials. And in Revelation 14:13, those who die in the Lord are blessed and in Revelation 19:9 those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb are blessed. Spiritual blessings far outweigh earthly material blessings.
To ask God to bless us is asking God to give us good things. The Greek word translated blessed in the Sermon on the Mount means to be fully satisfied. Spiritual blessings far outweigh earthly material blessings. — click to tweet
Second, we find that Jabez ask that God would enlarge his territory, meaning he was asking God to give him more land. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Jabez needed or wanted more land. Maybe it was to plant more crops or because he wanted more land for his livestock to graze. Either way, Jabez was asking God to increase his wealth.
Next Jabez asks that God’s hand would be with him. This is a prayer for both guidance and protection. 1 Chronicles 29:12 says, “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 138:8, “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” And Psalm 145:16, he wrote: “You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.” We also find in the Bible that God’s hand was on people and nations to bring judgment for sin. Perhaps this is why Jabez’s next request was for God to keep him from evil.
Lastly, Jabez asked God to ensure Jabez would not cause anyone any pain. In verse 9, we find that his mother named him Jabez saying, “because I bore him in pain.” The name “Jabez” means pain. So it becomes more insightful that Jabez closes his prayer with a plea to God that he would cause no one pain.
While Jabez’ prayer is not a magical formula for riches and prosperity, we can use it as an example in our own prayers. There is nothing wrong with asking God for any of the blessings from Jabez’ personal prayer to God. We do find at the end of verse 10 that God granted Jabez’ requests. However, we also need to point back to the beginning of verse 9 that stated Jabez was an honorable person. God’s blessings often come with our obedience to Him and knowing what God’s will is for us and then trusting God to provide us with His very best, even if that does not match what we think it should be. Instead of looking for a magical formula to gain God’s blessings, focus on living a life of obedience to God. His blessings are sure to follow.
Jabez’ prayer is not a magical formula for riches and prosperity. Instead of looking for a magical formula to gain God’s blessings, focus on living a life of obedience to God. His blessings are sure to follow. –click to tweet
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.