What if I were to tell you that the prayer of Jabez wasn’t a selfish prayer, even though it may seem selfish on the surface?
First, before we get into this, you may be wondering, “What is the prayer of Jabez?” or “Who is Jabez?” or “The name Jabez sounds familiar, but I can’t quite figure out why.”
Who was Jabez?
Little is known about Jabez. He appears in between Aharhel and Chelub in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 4, leaving many to believe that he may be Aharhel’s son. When reading this genealogy section, it’s so easy to almost miss him even being mentioned, let alone the prayer and Jabez’s short history found in the Bible.
All that’s really mentioned of him in the Bible is 2 verses (but we’ll look at 3 verses so there’s a little context). 1 Chronicles 4:8-10:
“8 And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.
9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10 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.”
From this passage, we can see that the prayer is focused on Jabez. It almost seems like something that we can’t pray.
While it isn’t selfish, that doesn’t mean we need to pray this word-for-word, or that it is somehow the perfect prayer to pray.
Where do you know this prayer from? Likely you have heard of or read Bruce Wilkinson’s book The Prayer of Jabez, and that’s where a lot of Christians have heard of it, in addition to seeing it by reading through the Bible.
Here are four reasons that it isn’t selfish:
Here is more detail on each reason:
So, can we be assured that God honors prayers like this? Jabez told God that he was ready for growth, and God honored his prayer. Based on this short, little-known passage, we can be sure that this prayer isn’t selfish, as long as you aren’t being selfish (James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”).
We can take a lot from this passage. One thing we can get from it is to be bold in our prayer. Will you pray today with Jabez-like faith? If you can’t do that yet, remember James 1:5: ““If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”