“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!’ And God granted him his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NLT)


In a book of the Bible that is characterized by lineage and the listing of families and names, these two verses give insight into one man’s life who had a different outcome because of one action he took. Jabez was born under very difficult circumstances to have his name translate into pain. In that day, your name reflected your identity. He could have easily let his name of pain dictate his life, his perspective, and his position. He could have felt like a victim of his circumstance. He could have decided that where he was at was where he would always be. But, Jabez had the faith to believe God for more. While we know very little about him, we do know he prayed when he could have complained, and he believed God when he could have walked away. Out of all the things that could have been recorded about his life, his accomplishments, and his family, being known as a man who prayed was the anthem of Jabez’s life. We don’t know how many times he prayed; we just know that he prayed. Jabez’s bold prayer unleashed the power of God and His blessings in a tangible way. How God answered was up to God, but Jabez did his part in humbling himself so that God could lift him up. The outcome was determined by his prayer.


We can put too much weight on our circumstances in life and discount the power of prayer. When we do, we miss out on the power of God at work in our lives in a unique way. James 5:16b (NLT) says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” While this prayer may initially seem self righteous and asking God to do what you want, it actually is a prayer for blessing and expansion, and with those two things, Jabez would have had greater influence and impact. When God increases our capacity, it usually comes with the pain of stretching; however, our ability to influence and impact our world increases as well.  What are you believing God for this year? While we may want to start with the work, God reminds us that the power is unleashed through prayer. While we don’t know in what ways or how God answered Jabez, we simply know that God answered his prayer. If we leave the how and when up to God, then He is able to bless our lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

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