Many of us have studied the prayer of Jabez, and highlighted it in our Bibles. We 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. This prayer 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 turbulence of life that threatens 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.
—1 Chronicles 4:9b-10 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.
—1 Chronicles 4:9b-10 NKJV
Do you see the change in the prayer’s focus in these two different versions? One is a prayer that asks for you to be free from pain, and the other is one that asks for you not to cause pain. The focus shifts from your personal needs to the unselfish concerns the Holy Spirit imparts for the needs of another person. When you leave “it’s all about me” behind, your concern for others becomes “all about Him.”
If you desire the Lord to guide and enlarge your areas of influence, you learn to focus on others instead of yourself. Your prayer may begin with the concerns that you have in your own life, but should naturally progress to true concern for others. In giving yourself away, you find healing and freedom from pain.
What does the prayer of Jabez say to you? Perhaps you might look at another version and find another perspective. Explore where your focus really rests in your life, and be sure that everything you do and say takes into consideration the pain that a brother or sister might experience. What God gives you in return is the promise in the first part of Jabez's prayer. You will find that you are continually blessed by God when your heart is focused upon the needs of others.
Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through this incredible prayer. Always ask Him if your actions and words bring healing or cause pain. Allow Him to teach you that in letting go for the sake of someone else, you discover the value of your faith. When you are concerned about the needs of someone else, God takes care of your own, and blesses you indeed!
© 2017 Lynn Lacher