The Prayer of Jabez: Making it Your Own Personal Prayer

The Prayer of Jabez: Making it Your Own Personal Prayer

Jabez is easy to overlook in the Bible narrative. He's likely an ancestor of the Kings of Judah and appears in the Book of Chronicles. We don't know much about him, but we do know that his birth was difficult, so his mother named him Jabez, which means "he makes sorrowful." The Prayer of Jabez is a short prayer offered Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10. 

Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

Short and sweet, as prayer can often be. But packed with examples of things to consider for our own prayers.

The four main points of the prayer can be summarized as follows: (1) Jabez asks God to bless him, (2) to enlarge his coast, (3) to have His hand with him, and (4) to keep him from evil. These four points represent a request for God's full blessings, increased opportunities, God's presence and guidance, and protection from harm.

"That thou wouldest bless me": The first point of the prayer is a request for God's blessings. Jabez asks God to bless him "indeed", meaning to bless him fully and completely. This request for blessings encompasses all aspects of life, including spiritual, physical, emotional, and material well-being. In essence, Jabez is asking God to pour out His favor and grace upon him. Alma chapter 34 contains example of areas of life that we should seek God's blessings for (check out verses 18-28). 

"And enlarge my coast": The second point of the prayer is a request for enlargement. Jabez asks God to enlarge his coast, which can be interpreted as increasing his territory, influence, or opportunities. This could refer to a physical increase in property, an expanded sphere of influence, or a greater number of opportunities to serve God. Whatever it means to each individual, this request for enlargement is a reminder that all opportunities come from God and it's okay to ask him for things, experiences, and privileges that would bless our lives and make us better suited to serve Him. 

"That thy hand might be with me": The third point of the prayer is a request for God's hand to be with him. This symbolizes God's presence, guidance, and protection. It is a reminder that God is always with us, and that we can rely on His strength and guidance in all situations. This part of the prayer echo's the language used in the sacrament prayers: "that they may always have his Spirit to be with them." We probably take for granted what these words actually mean. This blessing (having the hand of God or Spirit of God with us) is of such importance that its part of the weekly renewal of our covenants. 

"Keep me from evil": The final point of the prayer is a request for protection from evil. Jabez asks God to keep him from evil so that it may not grieve or harm him. These words echo similar language used by Jesus in the Lord's prayer. This request for protection from evil is a reminder to trust in God's care and protection, especially in times of difficulty or temptation. This request may also relate to the previous point, because having the hand of God with me requires that I resist evil. 

The Prayer of Jabez is a simple prayer, but a valuable example for seeking God's blessings, guidance, and protection in our lives. Remembering to petition heaven for these items can bring increased favor before God and man. The scriptures tell us that God granted Jabez the things that he asked for. We're confident that God will be equally giving towards us!

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