There are levels in prayer that we will never know until pain becomes a friend.
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 1 Chronicles 4:9
The name Jabez is a name associated with pain. He got his name from his mother while she labored in pain to bring him forth. Being a man of prayer, himself, I believe the knowledge of that experience left an indelible mark on Jabez’s life. It opened his eyes to see and understand something much deeper about prayer.
He understood that nothing of immense value comes about without pain, suffering, hard work and travailing prayer.
The birth of a child
“Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.” John 16:21
The deliverance of a nation
“This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 2 Kings 19:3
Jesus’ decision to embrace the cross
And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44
Salvation and the making of disciples
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Galatians 4:19
The Suffering Servant
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes[a] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10
The Lord’s Service
“I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” 2 Corinthians 11:27
The widow’s breakthrough
“In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ Luke 18:6
Many have approached the Jabez prayer with great enthusiasm hoping to score a quick and easy win only to find out that Jabez’s win came at a cost. Some people want to pray but not many want to ‘pray’ the price.
Some people want to see miracles signs and wonders, so they go up on the mountain to seek God. But too many would rather sit at the base of the mountain and play church while others are up on the mountain fasting and praying.
Remember what Jesus said – “this kind comes out only by fasting and praying.”
The best prayer you will ever pray is one inspired by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 tells us, “when we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”
What is the meaning of groaning?
According to dictionary.com, “it is a deep, mournful sound expressive of pain or grief.” It means to be “overloaded” with an intolerable burden. Nehemiah tells of his experience of being overloaded with an intolerable burden here in chapter one of his book. He said, “when I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days, I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
If you never experience that level of burden for the wellbeing of others or country in your Christian life, you cannot afford to live without the intense longing of Psalm 42:1, 2. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night.”
Like Jabez, those who run after God with that level of intensity; those who avail themselves to Him by letting Him place on them a burden for this lost and dying world; will not only go to deeper levels of prayer but will also see the ‘birthing’ of impossible things.