As we enter 2017 and various new year resolutions have gone by the wayside, let me recommend a new faith-filled perspective in the form of the Prayer of Jabez.
The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles is a parade of geneologies where this person begat this person who begat this person who begat this person. Not to inspiring. However, like a gold nugget nestled in a weed covered hill we find a pause by the writer when he arrives at the name of Jabez. It says . . . (4:9) Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.
Jabez was “honorable” that means a person who is upright, honest with high standards. It’s a person who has chosen to be right with God; chosen to HONOR God!
And yet, Jabez’s name means “son of sorrow.” There are three consonants in the Hebrew word of Jabez that reflects the Hebrew word for “pain.”
His mom named him out of her pain. The text gives us a sense that the pain is more than just a tough birth delivery. Jabez comes out of a family of pain; A difficult environment of hard experiences. But Jabez did not let his past, (either poor choices he had made, or as the recipient of hurtful outcomes by others) keep him there. He chose a new perspective. It says he CALLS on God!
(v.10) Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying . . . He calls on God (prays) for four things:
1. Oh, that thou wouldst bless me indeed (greatly) – The favor of God seen by all because I have chosen to honor God!
2. And enlarge my border, – larger & larger influence and impact with my life (in my family, at my job, with my neighbors).
3. And that Thy hand might be with me, – God’s presence with me, Chirst on the throne of my life being led by the Holy Spirit. That I would please Him in my attitude and words!
4. And that Thou wouldst keep me from harm that it may not pain me! A hedge of protection would proteact me from the Evil One; That my past failures and difficulties would not define me or keep me from HONORING God!
and the text says, GOD GRANTED HIM WHAT HE REQUESTED – Why? Because he had submitted himself before God. He was choosing to honor God.
Make the Prayer of Jabez your prayer for 2017. We can pray with confidence because He is greater than our past, greater than our pain and greater than our failures. God wants to give you a new perspective if you ask Him!