Not so long ago I was reading through Chronicles and I recall the name chapters which I found rather tedious. (Although, according to Joni, I did find my Bible gangsta name in there!) Still, I recall those weird names, those bizarre names and those how-in-the-world-do-you-pronounce-these names! And then. There was something more than just a name ... a mini biography if you will and the prayer of Jabez.
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, "Because I bore him in pain.” 10 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. -- I Chronicles 4
"Ah, I remember that. There was a popular book with that name several years back."
I read the prayer never before realizing that it was stuck amongst a huge list of Hebrew names.
Fast forward to today. We were at the inlaws' house after church. I'd set the table, read the paper, eaten lunch (hello, fried squash and peaches!), helped clear the table and put away the dishes. Then I was meandering around the living room and saw The Prayer of Jabez lying on the coffee table. Andrew was watching a bit of TV so I picked up the book to see what it was like. It's a small book of only about 90 pages. I started reading. Wow, good stuff. I read over half of it then and finished it just a bit ago. It only took about an hour to read the whole thing.
About blessings, the author reminds us that we "bless" missionaries, kids, the food we are about to eat and even sneezes! Blessing has gotten "watered down" into something akin to "have a nice day." However, "to bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. . . . We are crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give us." (pg. 23). The author, Bruce Wilkinson, tells us it is not selfish to pray this because God wants us to ask for His blessing. (See Matthew 7:7 & James 4:2). So pray for God to bless you -- indeed. Which is like adding five exclamation points or writing it in all caps and underlining it!
Perhaps tomorrow I will share a few other lessons I learned from this book.
P.S. Andrew saw this book lying here and asked what The Prayer of Jezebel was about. Hehehehe....Jezebel?