“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”
-Corrie Ten Boom
We’ve been focusing on how finding purpose comes from finding God inside His Word. It’s our connection with Him. We are able to learn who He is, and what He promises for us when we seek Him deep within the pages of Scripture. However, there’s another vital element: prayer. It’s our communication with God that strengthens our bond with Him. When you recognize someone’s place in your life and want to form a relationship with them, you speak to them. You ask questions and pursue communication. The same is true with solidifying a relationship with our Father in heaven. We need to talk to Him openly and honestly. Throughout the next few days, we are going to study some prayers we find in the Bible and unearth some treasure regarding activating purpose in the process.
In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 we learn of a man named Jabez. This is what Scripture tells us:
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Now 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 4:9-10
I’m going to be very honest and tell you that when I first read those verses, what stood out to me most was the last phrase: “So God granted him what he requested.” Oh, yeah! We all shout hallelujah when God answers exactly what we request. Can I get an amen? And, great hope is pumped directly into our souls when we see those words in the truth of the Bible. But there’s more to this…
First of all, the name Jabez is only mentioned in a total of three verses in the entire Bible. They are all encapsulated in 1 Chronicles. What we learn initially in 1 Chronicles 2:55 is there is a place named Jabez. After that, the second and third mentions are regarding the man named Jabez, which come from the verses I’ve listed above. Let’s meet him…
- He was honorable; more so than his brothers.
By definition, the word honor means one who deserves respect. An honorable person shows honesty and good moral character, and they are fair and proper…
Right away we are informed that Jabez was a stand-up guy! And, obviously, God noticed this.
- His mother named him Jabez because of the meaning of the Hebrew word for this names which translates to The Bible actually says, “Because I bore him in pain.”
Now, I don’t know if she experienced a traumatic birth, because the Bible doesn’t tell us that. I do know that she wasn’t checking into the hospital, choosing a meal plan, and contacting an anesthesiologist for an epidural… STAT. She suffered during his birth; so much so, she chose his name surrounding what she endured.
Back in Biblical times, names held significant meaning and could easily define a person. What I see automatically through this passage is that Jabez didn’t allow the definition of pain to continue throughout his life. His mother may have endured a torturous birth at the beginning, but her son’s life would turn out to be a testament to the living God.
- Jabez called on the living God.
That right there tells us more than we need to know. He was upright and honorable not necessarily held in high esteem from the people surrounding him. Now a days you can believe anything you want and if you do good works, you’re deemed honorable. But we know that Jabez was honorable because he practiced moral standing with God. You don’t call on someone you don’t know or believe in. Jabez obviously knew and believed, which led him to call on the only One who could help.
- The prayer: 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! And God granted him what he requested.
He trusted in God and the Father met His needs. I also love the play on words: “…that I may not cause pain!” A man who was labeled pain asked that the story surrounding his life would not be one of pain, that he would never again cause another to hurt, and God obliged.
I haven’t read the best-selling book about this prayer. However, I have to admit I’m now curious to read it. But what I see when I look at this is mighty purpose. And the purpose of this man was to know and believe God, depend on Him for his needs, and then stand steadfast in the promises of a Faithful Father. And guess what, our God wanted us to know about this particular man and His dependence upon Him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been mentioned.
You see, our purpose is wrapped up first in knowing and believing who God is. After that, He will use us to live a beautiful story of hope and redemption. We don’t have to be defined by who anyone says we are or what we’ve done in the past. We can march on in knowing we serve a God who hears us.
Being honorable doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It means we are trying to do the right thing and depending on God in the process. Prayers are hardly ever answered overnight, but when we pray, we ask in faith that God will do the job in His way and His time. Notice that when Jabez prayed, he asked for God to bless, for God to increase his territory, that God’s hand would be on him and keep him from pain. Jabez was depending on God for everything and held no faith in his own ability.
Friend, your purpose means praying with a heart focused on God and His will for you. We must let go and rise above what we think we need, and ask God to do it all. And, we must maintain an honorable, humble heart in the process.
We can learn a lot from this inconspicuous man, Jabez.
For today’s homework, let’s look up the New King James version of 1 Chronicles 4:10, write it, and highlight all the references to God doing the work, after you’ve done that, pray to Him and release control of your own circumstances into His hands.
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!
It is God who does ALL the work!
Share your thoughts about Jabez on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose so that we can learn from one another’s insights.
To learn more about this series, click here to read the introduction and scroll down for previous posts.
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