“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 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.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (KJV)
Several years ago I was reading the genealogies of 1 Chronicles, as I was following my daily reading schedule, and I discovered these two verses; and I had not noticed them before. It was like finding a diamond in a trainload of coal. It still is. After discovering this verse I preached a sermon on it, then a year or so later a man wrote a book on it; and it was very popular.
It still blesses my heart as I look through these genealogies, and find this oasis reminding us of the power of prayer to GOD.
The name Jabez means sorrowful. It seems that in giving birth to the child he had caused great pain to his mother – not his fault though. This prayer is asked that he might be a blessing rather than a curse to others. God answered.
We all ought to pray a prayer similar to this; maybe every day. Especially that we be a blessing to others. God more than meets needs – enlarging our “coast” or “borders”. His hand is with us continually protecting us, keeping us; and Jesus taught us “Deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:13).
Still we must pray. Still we must trust. Still we must bless others.