The Prayer of Jabez
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’
Jabez 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.”
— I CHRONICLES 4:9-10
In the beginning, things did not go well for Jabez. However, he cried out to God, God heard and answered his prayers. These two verses in the Bible are the only verses in the Bible about Jabez. Please search it out for yourself. Listen to Jabez’s request: “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… free from pain.”
There are four sincere requests being made in this passage: bless me indeed, enlarge my territory, keep your hand on me, and keep evil away.
Jabez was looking beyond the borders that were present and calling upon God to broaden his territory. It is important that we not allow limits to be placed on our dreams but we seek God in expectation that He will broaden our territory. We are to have faith in God that He would increase our understanding of His word, give us wealth, and health. We desire the currents of God’s loving power to carry us throughout our life. Jabez said to the Lord, “Oh that you would bless me indeed.”
We will never know in our lifetime what happened at the birth of Jabez to his mother. We can only suppose that he was born breached, his mother’s husband could have died, been incarcerated, or the family may have been financially destitute. We just don’t know! Whatever the problem was, his mother named him Jabez, which literally means pain!
In Scripture the name of a person had significant meaning; we can only imagine that Jabez’s name caused him problems. When we name our children, buildings, animals, or even vehicles, they carry special meaning, let us not translate the meaning of these names to our expectations from God. God can and will do the impossible. I encourage you to wisely choose names that will be pleasant to the hearing and hearts of God’s people.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Gracie M. Jackson, Pastor of Grace Community AME Mission, 11127 Old Eagle River Road. Sunday services held at 11 a.m.