of us have studied the prayer of Jabez. Many of us have it highlighted
in our Bibles, and have prayed for the Lord to guide us, to enlarge our
boundaries, to bless us, and to keep us safe from the terror of pain. It
reminds us even though pain may have defined our past, that now in
Jesus Christ it no longer defines us. We trust and believe in a Savior
who carries us through the storms of life and sets our feet on a solid
rock above the waves that lash out to destroy.
Today I would
like to challenge you to consider two different versions of 1 Chronicles
4:9-10: the New International Version and the New Kings James Version.
Especially look at verse 10, and the last request in Jabez's prayer.
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that you would bless me and
enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm
so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request” (NIV).
“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” (NKJ).
Do you see the
change in focus in the different versions? One asks that “I will be free
of pain”, and the other asks that “I might not cause pain”. The focus
shifts from the “I” of my own self-consideration, to a concern that I
might not hurt another person.
Both focuses are right. Both
are correct, and both are naturally born from this prayer. Prayer may
begin with the concerns that I have in my own life, but should always
move to concern for the needs of others. If we desire the Lord to truly
guide us and enlarge our areas of influence, we must learn to focus on
others instead of ourselves. It is in giving ourselves away that we find
healing, and freedom from pain in our own lives. We should always ask
if our actions and words bring healing or cause pain.
does the prayer of Jabez say to you in light of these two versions?
Perhaps you might look at another version and find another perspective.
Explore where your focus really rests in your own life, and be sure that
everything you do and say takes in consideration the pain that another
might experience. What God gives in return is the first part of Jabez's
prayer! I find that I am blessed if the “concern” of my prayer has been
for others. Discover your own “concern”. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak
to you through this incredible prayer!