Lessons of Jabez
My Mom was the first person to tell me about a little book called “The Prayer of Jabez“. With the best of intentions, she warned me to be careful what I pray for. She was not wrong about praying carefully. However, in recent months I have read and heard from faith leaders that if my prayers don’t scare me…I am not praying big enough. I have been stretching in my prayer life. I have also been taking bigger steps in faith. On occasion my prayers have terrified me because these are big things crossing my lips. It is not the idea of them not happening that scares me…it is the ideal of “what then” when they do.
Hence my Mom’s warning with the prayer of Jabez. You can find the minor note about Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. Here is the prayer, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” The next words following this prayer in Chronicles is “God granted him his request.”
I have no means on my own power to send my family on a mission trip next summer in Cambodia. We have committed my son and husband to going and plan for me to go as well. (There are some things going on that I can’t share yet, that could keep me home – but probably not. Let’s just say I am getting a new addition to my family.) I am one of the four primary cogs on the committee that is coordinating and fundraising. I do not believe I am called to foreign missions but I believe there is a lesson for me in this process. I believe it is part of God expanding my territory, my connections and my reach.
As Christians, when we receive blessing, those around us receive indirect blessings. When I am blessed with success in my work, my employer benefits. When I am blessed with health, my family, finances and employer benefit. The blessing I receive is shared directly and indirectly through me. It is one of the ways we are a light to others.
So what is the real lesson from Jabez for me? Don’t be afraid to pray big. Don’t be afraid when those big things show up. After all, if we are more than conquerors, how can an answer to prayer shake us. Pray in dominion and faith. KNOW that you know the Father hears you and is eager to grant your fervent request.