Applying Jabez’s Prayer In Light of A Godless World

August 1, 2012 · Print This Article

Applying Jabez’s Prayer

The Word

Text:  1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Inasmuch as Jabez is mentioned in the context of the Judah genealogy, he was probably of that tribe. However, his precise connection to the tribe is not indicated. It may also refer to the man who founded the place called “Jabez,” referred to in 2:55 as the home of a caste of scribes. In the present passage he is honored for his desire to enlarge the territory God had given him (v. 10). Even more noble was his wish not to cause pain to others, even though his name means “he will cause pain.” Though his birth was painful to his mother, his life was a source of blessing to others, for “God granted him what he requested[1]

Restoration comes through prayer

Despite the tendency in our culture today to blame one’s diminished circumstances or personal inadequacies on the failures of the preceding generation, and then look to support groups and self-help programs for recovery, genuine restoration comes about only through the pathway of prayer.

Support programs are not without merit, however humanly devised programs tend to stop at the humanly devised level, and then a person’s dependency just moves onto the program. The objective of any program ought to be full independence of it and complete stabilization in the Lord. The constant resourcing of human means to solve our problems is not fundamentally wrong, but it will not answer a person’s ultimate need; only our Lord Christ Jesus can do that.

Jabez was born into a disgraced family

Jabez’s father brought disgrace and loss to his family—evidenced by the fact that his name does not appear in the genealogy. Jabez was born at a painful time in the life of his family—even his name means “pain.” The failure of Jabez’s father established a pattern of dishonor which his brothers followed, but Jabez does not. He distinguishes himself not by some self-made honor, but because God recovered his state as a result of Jabez’s pursuit in prayer. We too can look to God to recover, enlarge and defend us by applying lessons from Jabez’s prayer:

Jabez prays to God: “Enlarge My Borders”

1. Pray with Hope and Faith: “Oh, that You would bless me…”

  • For the adequacy, fulfillment and sense of realized destiny in God’s will for your life;
  • For those things promised in the Word of God, provided for through the Cross of Jesus Christ;
  • For those goals, desires or aspirations prophesied or dreamed, spoken by the Holy Spirit to your heart, which you may have started doubting would ever happen;
  • For those things that would bring new meaning and fulfillment.

Jabez’s prayer reminds us to seek the Lord’s face and ask, “Lord, is it right for me to ask you to bless me this way?”

2. Ask God to Expand and Recover: “Enlarge my territory·”
God always has more for you. For Jabez, it’s recovering what’s been lost, and expanding beyond that. What do you want to be recovered and enlarged?

  • I want to be recovered from things that pinch, restrict and hinder;
  • I want restored those things that have been lost, taken or destroyed;
  • I want enlarged those areas that are weak, diminished or neglected.

3. Ask the Lord to Defend and Expel: “That You would keep me from evil, that I might not cause pain!”
Jabez asks for the Lord’s defense not only for his own sake, but to expel the residue of any evil in him that would inhibit God’s purpose for his life or become painful to others:

  • Things that tempt, attack or haunt my mind;
  • Things from my past, my parents or my heritage;
  • Things that condemn, confuse or compromise me.

4. Believe That God Will Bless, Recover, Enlarge and Defend You — “So God granted him what he requested.”

The personal pursuit of God in prayer is the only way to ultimately realize the highest fulfillment of His purpose for us. Some things He may continue to refine in you for years. The best way to let Him show you how to “examine yourself” is to write your prayers out to the Lord, bringing to Him the areas in which you want blessing, enlargement, or need His defense. While handbooks and support groups may help, dealing directly with God in prayer, removes an enormous amount of dependence on human resource, self-pity, discouragement and depression.

“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.  What is it in your life do you want God the Father to intervene in, all you have to do is ask. 


John 16:23-24 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.



[1]Radmacher, Earl D. ; Allen, Ronald Barclay ; House, H. Wayne: Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville : T. Nelson Publishers, 1999, S. 1 Ch 4:9-12


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