What Does God Say When
People Pray? (part 7)
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And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.  And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. [KJV]
Jabez is one of the obscure characters in the Bible, whose name appears in passing. Actually, this is the only place he is mentioned. All we know about him is that he was a man of honor and that God answered this prayer.
In his prayer, he asked for four things: (1) God's blessing, (2) an enlarged border (3) God's guiding hand, and (4) that God would keep Him from evil.
This wasn't an obligatory prayer, it obviously came directly from Jabez's heart and resulted from reflection. We sing of a "sweet hour of prayer" and tout men to be great spiritual giants if they pray a long time, but this prayer doesn't pass the "length" test, does it? It is short, but it is power packed with insight and foresight.
Jabez began by asking for God's blessing. There is not the anxiety in his voice when he prayed, like there was with Jacob who wrestled with the Angel of the Lord in Genesis 32:26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." But Jabez still desired to live his life, walking under the umbrella of God's blessing.
Centuries later, Paul would write, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," (Ephesians 1:3)
Charles Schultz created a character that always walked around in a cloud of dust. Wherever he was, the dirt followed him. Schultz aptly named him Pigpen. As the cloud of dust always hovered over Pigpen, so God's presence abides with those he blesses. Wherever they go, whatever they do, there is a sense of God's blessings upon them.
Jabez prayed to be one of
the blessed ones. Like Abraham. When God spoke to Abraham in Genesis
12:2 He made him this promise: "And I will make you a great nation, And
I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;"