The Prayer of Jabez

Bible Book: 1 Chronicles  4 : 9-10
Subject: Prayer of Jabez; Prayer; Faith

“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "’Because I bore him in pain.’" 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.”

This text has been referred to as the briefest of Bible biographies.  Verse 4:9 says, “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.”  Jabez wanted to be more and do more for God, and according to v.10, God granted him his request.  Ever since I became a “believer,” I have desired to “make a difference,” to live as to be missed, and to help the body of Christ realize it is under challenged.  I’ve never had a desire to “just get by.”  God placed in my heart a “whatever it takes” attitude from day one.  Now, 45 years later, I still desire to do a great work for the Lord.

The prayer of Jabez has incredible potential of revolutionizing our lives.  This prayer reveals our Heavenly Father’s desire to give us so much more than you may have ever thought to ask for.  In this prayer, a “little difference makes all the difference.”

What do we know about Jabez?
1. Only place in the Bible he is mentioned.
2. Things started badly for a person no one had ever hear of.
3. He prayed an unusual, one sentence prayer.
4. Things ended extraordinarily well.

This prayer definitely moved Jabez beyond the limits.  He knew God had done something beyond a doubt that God had to have done.  When is the last time God worked through you in such a way that you know beyond doubt that God had done it?  I believe God does have unclaimed blessings waiting for us. 

It is once again time for FBCW to move from the back of the river to the middle where God’s strong loving currents carry you along.  However, we must want more, be unsatisifed.


“Jabez called on the God of Israel” – no one else, no other option, only One that could meet his needs; no plan B.  Abandoned to God; sink or swim, all dependent on God.


“Oh, that You would bless me indeed…”  Bruce Wilkenson said, “Is it possible that God wants you to be more ‘selfish’ in your prayers?”  To ask for more, and more again, from the Lord?  Is it greedy to ask God for His blessings?  Could it be that God is attempting to teach us that great men of God think differently than the rest of us?

“Jabez” means pain; he causes (or will cause) pain.  What was the cause of pain?  Not sure.

Despite his dismal prospects, Jabez found a way out.  He had grown up hearing about the God of Israel Who had freed his forefathers from slavery, rescued them from powerful enemies, and established them in a land of plenty.  As Jabez grew older he believed more fervently.

“bless” – means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor.  He is not asking for more of what he could get for himself.  He is crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us.

Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”

NOTICE:  Jabez left it entirely up to God to decide what the blessing would be.  Pictures our wanting for ourselves nothing more and nothing less than what God wants for us.

Jabez is looking for the unhindered forces of heaven.  Jabez believed his Father was delighted to respond generously.  Jabez was blessed simply because he refused to let any obstacle, person, or opinion loom larger than God’s nature.


“enlarge my territory” – asking God to enlarge his life so he could make a greater impact for Him; more influence, more responsibility, more opportunity to make a mark for God.

It speaks of a place of one’s own with plenty of room to grow.  Most ministers are satisfied to be where they are, with what they have.  Then, there are the Jabez’s, that want more (put us in all the nations, all the neighborhoods, touching all the people we can).

Jabez knew that if the Lord “enlarged his territory,” he would need Him to bless him “indeed.”  If we, at FBCW, “enlarge our territory,” we will need Him to bless us.

God is looking for people who want to do more of it, because sadly, most believers seem to shrink from living at this level of blessing and influence.

Ephesians 3:20: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a super natural God who will do His work through them.

What happens when I take on new territory? Thrill, fear, thrill


“Oh, that your hand would be with me” – this is Jabez’s third request, not number one.  Why?  He didn’t sense the need.  Things were still manageable.  His risks, and the fears that go with them, were minimal.

God’s hand speaks of power, a touch of greatness.  You do not become great; He becomes great through you.

Zechariah 4:6: “So he answered and said to me:  ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:  Not by might nor by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’”

“hand of the Lord” – God’s power and presence in the lives of His people.  When the Lord gave the great commission, He was bestowing on them both an incredible blessing and an impossible task.

2 Chronicles 16:9: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

Your loyal heart is the only part of His expansion plan that He will not provide.


“Oh, that you would keep me from evil”

Without doubt success brings with it greater opportunity for failure.  Someone said, “blessedness is the greatest of perils because it tends to dull our keen sense of dependence on God and make us prone to presumption.”

Guard what you are given!


“So God granted him what he requested”

God answers prayer, even radical praying.