Forty Days of Prayer – Day 8

I remember about 13 years ago the number one best selling book on the New York Times list was a book about prayer. It focused on a simple prayer, by a man named Jabez, who we know almost nothing about him other than these two verses from 1 Chronicles.

“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” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).

How would you like to be name “pain?” Unusual names are common today as well as in Biblical times. I remember George Costanza on a TV show wanted to name his child 7, in honor of Mickey Mantle. In this passage the mother of Jabez had a painful delivery, so she named her son Jabez, which means pain in Hebrew. I have visited hundreds of mothers right after delivery and I know they all had painful deliveries, yet they looked beyond the pain of the moment and saw the incredible gift God was giving them. Here in this passage, Jabez grew up with a name that I am sure brought some tough moments from others as a child. Can you imagine walking into a group of teens if your name was pain? From his prayer we see that Jabez did not want to embody his name in life.

What I like about the first part of this prayer is that he asks that God bless him. Asking for God’s Blessing is more of an open-ended prayer that realizes that the blessing of God is better than anything in this world in which we live. We also know that it is something that God wants to give us all, as we hear in the words of the Benediction that God told Moses to have Aaron and his sons to give to the people of God in Numbers chapter 6. “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” God’s blessings are His face smiling toward us, and His grace and peace. We see all three of these very clearly in the life and message of Jesus. You are blessed.

In Christ’s service, Pastor Dave

Lord bless us. All too often we give you a list of what we want in life rather than seeking what is best. Your blessings are always what is best. Lord thank you for blessing us all in Your Son Jesus. Thank you that He smiles upon us. That He gives us the grace of the cross. That in Him we have a peace that passes all human understanding. Amen.

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