Jabez's Daring Requests
Isn't it presumptuous of us to ask God to bless us? Doesn't it smack of the 'prosperity gospel' to ask God to enlarge our area of influence? At first glance, that may be the impression we get when we read the prayer of Jabez found in I Chronicles 4:9, 10. Last week, we looked briefly at his simple prayer:
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.
Jabez's first request was that God bless him. And not just bless him, but bless him indeed! We often ask God to bless our food or the missionaries, sometimes as a generic catch-all prayer. If this is what Jabez meant it is not very daring at all. However, Bruce Wilkinson in his book, The Prayer of Jabez, says to ask for God's blessing is "to ask for or impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God's blessing, we're not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We're crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or to give to us."
Are you eager, even desperate, for God to work in miraculous ways in your life? Can you resonate with Jesus' statement to His disciples in John 15 when he stated, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing."? Jabez would not be satisfied unless he was recipient of the blessings that God alone could bring to his life.
Jabez's second request was that God would enlarge his territory, or borders. Wilkinson says that today the prayer might sound like this, "O God and King, please expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for Your glory." This is one of the most dangerous prayers we can pray. Why? Because God just loves to answer this prayer in unexpected ways.
Praying for opportunities to be used by God is something God loves to hear. When we ask God to open doors for opportunities to minister to others, He is thrilled and more than eager. One of the reasons we don't pray like this more often is that we are afraid God will answer and our lives will get even more busy and complicated. We often settle for a life characterized by what we can accomplish through our own gifts and efforts rather than asking God for the opportunities that He has created us for.
Won't you join Jabez in asking God to bless you and enlarge your borders today?
Scripture: Proverbs 10:22 - "The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it."
Action Point: Ask God to bring someone into your life today that you can minister to. Be careful! God just loves to answer the prayers of those who want to be used by Him.
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