“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.” – 1 Chronicles 4:9
Above is one of the most prominent prayer utterances in the Bible. It has also become a daily prayer for some Christians. But as for me, I can’t help but to compare and contrast it with the prayer Jesus Christ has taught us. 1) Jabez focused on God’s gifts but Jesus magnified the Giver. 2) The prayer of Jabez tells us of the OT context of how God blesses His people, that is thru prosperity, while the prayer Jesus has taught demonstrates to us that because of what He will do in the cross, we will have the power to share in the life, suffering, ministry and triumphs of Jesus Christ.
The good part is that both prayers find favor in the eyes of God. The Bible even tells us that God granted the petitions of Jabez. I asked God why would he allow blessing someone with such a very self-centered plea. Then God said, “Son you are overlooking verse 9”, that Jabez is more honorable than his brothers. The Bible is silent as to the kinds of sufferings this poor Jabez had but what is clear is that he maintained a kind of lifestyle that is pleasing before God. He didn’t walk in the ways other people in that time did.
Examining also the prayer tells me that out of the abundance in his heart that he made it into a loud cry to God. For him, everything is enough. He has experienced already heartaches and pains… sickness and trials… failures in life. And he knows exactly where to go. He knows that no one could help him except God. Saying “that Your hand would be with me” implies he cannot act on anything unless God is with him. He knows how to delight in God’s presence and he knows how to approach God. He has the confidence that God will answer all his prayers because he knows that one of the ways to tickle the heart of God is by revering him through pure devotions that is accompanied by deeds.
God looks at the hearts of men. According to our hearts that He judges us.