Jabez does not stand astride the Old Testament like a Moses or a David or light up the book of Acts like those early Christians. But one thing is sure: the little difference in his life made all the difference. He is a man remembered not for what he did, but for what he prayed — and what happened next (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). This prayer for peace can be helpful for people in Lufkin, Texas or London, England, or Tokyo, Japan. It contains four great statements.
“Bless Me Indeed”
Are we willing to ask for blessings for others but not for ourselves? Perhaps we are shocked at the bold and earnest request of Jabez, but he was called “honorable” for his boldness. The man who rushes into life may discover no need for prayer, only intending to do the best he can under the various circumstances that may arise. But he who looks thoughtfully over the duties and cares of life, will know the importance of prayer.
It is the nature of God to bless (James 1:17; Matthew 5:44-45). When we seek God’s blessings as the ultimate value in life, instead of possessions or wealth, we are giving ourselves over fully to the will of God (Luke 12:15; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:13). All other needs are secondary.
By our requests, we acknowledge and recognize that all blessings come from God (Matthew 6:8-11; Philippians 4:19). We have all physical blessings provided to us by our heavenly Father (Luke 12:24; John 6:31; Acts 14:17). We have all spiritual blessings provided by the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 3:9).
“Enlarge My Coast”
Too often we want the Lord to bless us, but we do not want the extra influence, responsibilities, and opportunities that go with the blessings. Jabez’s request was not selfish. He looked at his present circumstances and concluded, “Surely I was born for more than this.”
An example might be someone praying for a new car, but when you get it are you willing to use it to carry the gospel to a friend across town? Or what about the Christian who claimed that if the Lord blessed him with 100 cows, he would give 10 to the Lord? He has 10 cows now, how about giving one to the Lord?
Most of us think our lives are too full already, but Jabez prayed that his might be added to. Our abilities and opportunities directly relate to the responsibility we share. Whatever your talents, education, or vocation might be, your calling is to do God’s work on earth. When you start asking in earnest for more influence and responsibility with which to glorify God, He will bring it into your path.
“Be With Me”
We should not only pray for blessings and responsibilities, but for the presence of God to abide with us (John 15:4-7). The devout will always want God to be a partner in their business.
Jabez recognized he could not succeed without the Lord — he could not do it alone. Do we realize that we are in the same state? We are told to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-7). We can be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). We are to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10-11).
The “hand of the Lord” is a term for God’s power and presence in the lives of His children (Joshua 4:24; Isaiah 59:1). In Acts, the success of the early church was attributed to the “hand of the Lord” being with them (Acts 11:21). With this prayer, we realize that with God, we can do things that we never thought possible (Philippians 4:13).
“Keep Me From Evil”
Jabez had three positive requests and one negative. Do not forget the Lord when you get all you ask for — that is when you need Him the most. Agur wanted neither riches nor poverty, to keep him from rejecting God (Proverbs 30:7-9).
We were redeemed and commissioned for the front lines. That is why praying to be kept from evil is such a vital part of trying to live as a Christian. With all the legions of heaven at His disposal, even Jesus prayed for deliverance (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44).
In the same way that God wants you to ask Him for more blessings, more territory, and more presence, He longs to hear you plead for safekeeping from evil (Matthew 6:13). Someone has rightfully said, “Your danger is not in being on the edge of a precipice, but in being careless there.”
This is a great prayer for peace for us! This obscure man teaches an outstanding lesson in God’s willingness to hear and answer the supplications of His people. He had grand faith that God ruled in people’s lives. The text says, “And God granted him that which he requested.” Should we be surprised? Evidently, what Jabez prayed for pleased the Lord (1 Kings 3:10, 12). God favors those who ask according to His will (1 John 5:14). Being “more honorable” means striving to increase more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:10). Make the prayer of Jabez a habit.