Jabez — Crazy Bible Stories Part 2
is not a name in the Bible that most people are familiar with. As a matter of fact, if you polled 50 regular church attending people, I would be surprised if even 5 of them have heard of Jabez (unless the minister preached a sermon on him). This is not the case for me. Jabez is someone who I have been familiar with since I was a young teen. It originated from a book called The Prayer of Jabez for Teens by Bruce Wilkinson.
My pastor led us through the book during Sunday school class. There is a book created for adults, (I have not read this one) but the teen version could generally apply to anyone. It focuses on a teenagers ability to make a difference in their lives through the power of prayer (sounds like Do Hard Things anyone?). This is because the prayer of Jabez is something that can relate to anyone no matter where they are or who they are.
Jabez was Slightly more Important than a Nobody
One of the reasons that no one has ever heard of Jabez is because his story gets tucked away in one of the least read books in the Bible – 1 Chronicles. Not only does he only receive only two verses in the entire Bible, the two verses are in one of the least exciting portions of 1 Chronicles. As such, it would be very easy to just skim over the long list of names and not even see Jabez even after reading through the Bible multiple times.
I recently rediscovered Jabez a week ago as I was reading through the Bible. Most of the names in this section are hard to pronounce names that and never mentioned again. They do not really hold any real significance to us except that they might eventually lead to the genealogy of Christ (which is also for the most part something that we do not spend a lot of time caring about). However, in this long list of nobodies, one person stands out – Jabez. Take a look at his story.
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 He cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
– 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
The first Quality of Jabez
So what stands out about Jabez that would promote him in the list of names to someone who deserves two whole sentences and a book written about him thousands of years later? Well, the first is that he was more honorable than his brothers. This alone set him apart from the crowd. The author recognized the deeds of Jabez as having been important enough to stop the roll call and give a small story. See what being honorable can do for you?
The second Quality of Jabez
The second thing we see is that the name “Jabez” kind of sucks. It is directly associated with pain, or bringing pain. Thanks mom, thanks. Who is going to want to be friends with someone who has caused pain since the beginning of his life? Not to mention that everyone knows that child-birth is painful, but most moms seem to say that they do not remember the paid. Apparently, Jabez’s mother wanted to remember the pain and so she named her son that so that every time she called him to dinner she would remember “you, you’re the one who caused me pain!”
The third Quality of Jabez
Third, Jabez cries out to God (wouldn’t you?). He asks for two things. The first is for a blesseing and to have a greater territory. Land is something that holds great value. Owning land gives you the ability to build things on it and pass it down to your children. Land was especially important to those in the Old Testament because they were constantly fighting to take, reclaim, or defend it.
The second part of his prayer is to have God be with him so he is kept from harm. Most people have prayed this prayer before. Some translations of the Bible say that Jabez asked for protection from evil so that he does not cause pain. I like this version (and the ancient texts support this) because it makes a lot of sense. Jabez means pain, so why not pray that you no longer cause it to people and also that you yourself be kept from it.
God Answers the Prayer of Jabez
The miraculous part of the story is that God granted his request. There is no questions ask. Jabez is not doing anything special to receive the answered prayer. God does not ask him to do anything. He simply asks and he receives. It may have helped that he was more honorable than his brothers, or that God felt bad for the misfortunes that followed Jabez through his life of pain. Jabez prays a bold prayer and receives his answered in full.
Many people who have discovered the prayer of Jabez add this prayer to their daily life. Wilkinson says he prays it every day and others who have done the same have seen God work amazingly. Some people suggest that this is because the prayer is bold. It is not shy or meek in asking God. It is up front and to the point.
The lesson is to pray to God boldly and with faith so that he would answer us in great ways. While certain people are against rehearsed prayers, I see nothing wrong with adding it to our daily prayer life. Take the Jabez challenge. Pray the prayer every day for a month and see if God does anything incredible in your life. Make sure you leave a comment below if He does! Or if you have ever had a bold prayer answered in general. Reading testimonies is a great way to promote fellowship.
Check out Crazy Bible Stories Part 1!