“A man whose soul never “calls,” never cries, never looks, never waits upon God, is not living to the end for which a man should live; he is not truly living at all.”
the lifestyle of waiting upon the Lord… this waiting upon the Lord is something that completely out of style. The kind of life that an ordinary person lives – day in and day out (I acknowledge) is extremely difficult. Especially if you’re putting in a completely masked out work week. The only time you have is a little window on Sunday morning. But I believe if we truly want to live – making the time to live in this posture of waiting upon the Lord will be worth it!
Our study of the Jabez Prayer is going to help jump start this lifestyle.
1 Chronicles 4:10
Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
Mentioned once in the entire Bible with a name associated with pain, lack and limitations, we find a man who had nothing until he started praying. He was literally a man of many sorrows. A man whose mother gave him the name pain. For Jabez, things were on a downward spiral. He had no job, no friends in high places, and no connections. He had no five-year plan. Not even a piece of land on which he could build.
If there was anything honorable that set Jabez apart, it was his prayer life. That is the reason why verse nine of first Chronicles called him an honorable man. Out of a heartfelt and audacious prayer life, one full of faith and trust in God, he uttered 4 powerful prayers that got God’s attention. The Bible says “God granted what he asked for”.
I don’t see Jabez’s prayer as a magical formula like many people do. They think by just reciting it, it will mysteriously bring them what they want. I do, however, believe in the Almighty God who is able to exceed our expectations when we pray. And speaking of prayer, the scriptures tell us that when it is “effectual and fervent, it can accomplish much.”
There is a combination of things, consistent with the character of God, by the way, that makes Jabez’s prayer so powerful and effective.
- Things like praying according to God’s Will… John 14:14 – You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. … and bear fruit–fruit that will remain–so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 1 John 5:14 – that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. … We are certain God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him.
- The long and sometimes lonely seasons of prolonged prayers… think about Hanna… Anna… Simeon in their prolonged season of prayer
- The level of his consecration… prayer calls us to a certain level of consecration that goes beyond the norm.
- The silence that invites us to seek… to keep seeking, searching, waiting… sometimes God hides himself for us – not from us! you see this is another level of prayer that most of us don’t enjoy. God longs to be longed for. Something special happens when two people finally come together after an intense period of running after each other.
- Having an audaciously huge God kind of faith… Jebez prayer carries a certain level of audacity. This kind of audacious praying is usually not safe and convenient. Example: Elijah calling down fire vs Joshua commanding the Sun to stand still. Joshua 10/ 1 Kings 18… (36)
- The willingness to accept and work with God’s timing, vision, and purpose
- And to keep oneself faithful, responsible and accountable to God
Prayer for success is crucial, but it’s certainly not the only thing you are going to do to bring you success. God is your source, don’t ever lose sight of that. But he will challenge your definition of success; stretch you through pain; and model faithfulness (grit, tenacity) perseverance to get you to the finish line.
These are the things I would love to explore in this blog series. But, before we do that, let’s define a few words from 1 Chronicles 4:10.
May the Lord “bless me” means – to prosper, elevate, promote, lift,
May the Lord “bless me indeed” means – significantly, out of the ordinary. Like no one else can. It is one thing to be blessed, but totally another thing to be blessed indeed. That is because “if the Lord doesn’t build the house, he who builds in vain. Or, it is the blessings of the Lord that make rich.”
May the Lord “enlarge my territory” means – to give a progressive growth. To enlarge what one has beyond his/her comfort zone. To break out. Step out. To expand beyond one’s sphere of influence.
May the Lord’s hand be upon me means – God’s providence, favor, anointing, grace, opened doors, and a blessing on everything one touches.
May the Lord keep me from evil – keep me from failure, sin, temptation, canal behaviors, and a protection from the evil one.
He cried! He called! This is not a casual, lackadaisical prayer. This was an earnest and heartfelt prayer.
1 John 5:14 – This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
As we go through this blog series, my prayer for myself and for you is that our confidence will increase as we pray. I pray that as we seek Him for all our needs we will hear this word – GRANTED!