The Prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. This passage of scripture is very easy to miss while reading. It is tucked away in a huge section about the lineage of David. What is this prayer all about? As always, let us look into the Word of God for answers. Note: all scriptures not referenced are all from the verse in 1 Chronicles 4:10.
The Prayer of Jabez
The prayer of Jabez found in 1 Chronicles 4:10 reads as follows, “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.” Now let us break down this verse into pieces and see what we can learn from it.
The Irony of it All
Right before his prayer, there is almost a side note in the preceding verse that should be noted. 1 Chronicles 4:9 reads, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’” I have no doubt that Jabez had a strong faith in God to pray a prayer that would counter the meaning of his name. Jabez asked God, “’Keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’” He knew that his name was drenched in the word ‘pain’ and he wanted nothing to do with it. God saw his faithfulness and humility by his actions, which is why I believe God granted his prayer. This doesn’t mean that everyone who prays like this will earn God’s favor in their prayer though. God is just and He answers however He pleases. That is why He is sovereign over all things. He is in control of all things.
Jabez Called on God
Jabez understood the importance of prayer. “Jabez called upon the God of Israel.” Any self-proclaimed Christian can believe in God and completely miss a major point of the faith, in prayer. Not only did Jabez understand how to pray, but he prayed this prayer out loud. He called on God. I don’t recall a single passage of scripture where someone called on God silently. Jabez was not afraid to show his faith out loud. This is a great testimony. How often do you pray out loud in a secular setting?
Jabez Understood God’s Favor
Jabez was a descendant of David. He knew the story of “the man after God’s own heart.” He knew the story of David defeating Goliath, showing strength from God in the midst of trials. He knew the bond David had with Jonathon, showing true love for our brothers and sisters. Knowing the back stories to one of the greatest men to live on earth, Jabez understood what God’s favor was all about. “Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my border.” He knew how God had blessed David, no doubt. He knew how amazing the power of God is by how David conducted his own life. So, with that in mind and a sincere heart, Jabez asked God for more provisions.
Jabez and God’s Own Hand
“And that Your hand might be with me.” Jabez also knew other amazing things about David, including all of the war stories and Psalms that he wrote. David constantly was calling on God for protection, provision, and strength. Jabez must have known the Psalms that David had written, along with the others that David did not write. Here are some that would have possibly prompted him to ask for God’s hand.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield.” (Psalm 28:7a)
“Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” (Psalm 38:22)
“You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:17b)
“A thousand may fall at Your side, ten thousand at Your right hand, but it will not come near You. You will only look with Your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.” (Psalm 91:7-8)
Jabez knew that God is powerful enough to look on His enemy to bring destruction, such as the plagues in Egypt when Pharaoh refused to let Israel go free. God doesn’t even have to move. He can think things into motion. Jabez was confident in the power of God, so calling on God to keep His hand on him was his way of showing his reliance on God.
God Gives Blessings
“And God granted what he asked.” God loves us and wants to bless us. One of my favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17 which says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Doesn’t this bring overwhelming joy to your soul? God wants to show His love for us by rejoicing over us! That is AWESOME! God is always faithful to us. God granted Jabez’s request, I believe, because Jabez believed in Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Nothing happens outside of the will of God. Jabez understood this and so he must have prayed in accordance with the will of God. If you really are “Delighting yourself in the Lord”, you will always be asking for things according to His will.
The prayer of Jabez is one tiny little verse of 1 Chronicles, but it is packed with a valuable testimony of Jabez’s understanding and loyalty to God. May we all strive to pray like Jabez did! God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
Take a look at these other prayers:
Resources - The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” YouTube video “Song of Jabez” by Paul Baloche