Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez,[a] saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “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!” So God granted him what he requested. 1Chronicles 4
I don’t know what you’ve been called or what the circumstances of life have named you. Whatever name tag or label has been put on you, you don't have to wear it or accept it. Jabez’s mother named him based on the circumstances in which she bore him. We must realise that circumstances can always change, therefore you must never make a permanent decision (like what you call a child) based on temporary circumstances. The word pain in hebrew is ‘otseb', a variation of it called ‘etseb' more likely describes what became Jabez’s reality as a result of the pronouncement made by his mothers. Etseb means toil, sorrow, labour, hardship, offence, hurt. Those are the words Jabez's mother spoke over him, declaring that he would live his life in hardship and toil, would have sorrow, know hardship and cause and experience offence and hurt all his life. Words are powerful and words of mentors and those in authority over one’s life are especially powerful. This is borne out by the fact that Jabez had to pray a certain prayer. If he hadn't seen pain or limitation in his life he wouldn't have had to pray that prayer. He prayed this prayer because his name began to bear fruit in his life - he began to experience pain and to cause pain, despite being an honourable man. You see, the good guy doesn't always win - unless he knows how to pray.
When Jabez got desperate to change his life, he did what all desperate people should do - he called on God. The word ‘called’ that is used here in the hebrew is the word ‘qara’. It means to cry out, utter a loud sound, cry for help, summon, commission or invite. This was not a sophisticated prayer that Jabez prayed. It was an inelegant, undignified, desperate and loud cry for help from the only one who can revoke the limitations upon your life. He wasn't just crying, he was was crying out. But he wasn't only crying out, he was summoning, inviting and commissioning the help of God to war on his behalf. Jabez called on the God of Israel or Elohim the God who prevails. He was calling out to the one who He knew could do and undo, the all powerful, the all mighty, the ancient of days, the unchanging changer. He was calling on the might and power of God to prevail against and overturn the curse and limitation on His life.
Notice these things about Jabez prayers
1. His request was passionate
2. His request was specific
3. His request was large.
Be passionate in prayer. Someone said, ‘Prayers that don’t move you, don’t move God’. Not all prayer that is shouted is genuine prayer, but all genuine prayer is passionate prayer and passionate prayer is hard to keep quiet. When you are desperate you pray from the heart. You take on postures and positions that you haven’t taken on before and you face is not composed in a pretty way; but that’s ok because those prayers are working out a pretty solution for your life. When issues become serious enough, passionate prayer is easy to do.
Be specific in prayer. Jabez's request was specific.
• to be blessed indeed
• enlarge my territory
• be with me
• keep me from evil
• not let me cause pain
Someone once asked me why we need to be specific in prayer when God already knows what we need. I believe it’s because when we are able to isolate what it is we desire from God, we are better positioned to work with God to make it happen. Jabez knew what he wanted from God - he wanted the curse of suffering, shame and toiling without reward removed from his life. But that wasn't enough. You see some people are happy to just escape the curse of suffering and live a life of mediocrity. Not so with Jabez, he wanted more. He wanted a life of honour, he wanted double for his trouble. So he asked God to make him a blessing and not a curse and to give him territory ( a large place of ownership, influence, wealth). But that wasn't all, he also asked God to make him over, to change him so that he would not cause offence and hurt wherever he went as had been prophesied over him.
However, the most important was the prayer point he sandwiched in the middle of his prayer – ‘that your hand would be with me’. Jabez didn’t just want God’s blessing for that day and time, he knew he needed Gods backing, power and strength continuously. I hope that will be your prayer also. Ask for all that you need in prayer; God is not limited, so your requests do not need to be limited. There are no awards for modesty in prayer or disqualifications for being greedy in prayer. Ask for all that you need to enter into your destined place in prayer. The creator of this earth and all that is in it is well able to supply. The one line that describes Gods response “ So God granted him what he requested’, shows how simple it is for God to answer and reverse those things that we have agonised and suffered over for years. May He answer you as you pray in Jesus name.
This is culled from the soon to be released book ‘ Desperate Prayers’ by Bimbo Fola-Alade.