His favor and blessings come to us as we learn to ask our heavenly Father for all our needs.
Read 1 Chronicles 4:1-10:
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 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.
Pray for anything and everything according to God’s purpose.
I love this short passage of the Bible because it gives us full permission to pray to God for blessings. Yes, you can ask Him for physical, tangible blessings. Jabez is bold enough to ask, and God grants His request. We don’t know much about Jabez—his story is mentioned quickly in the middle of a long list of important names and generations of families from Judah.
The only thing we are really told about Jabez is that he is more honorable than his brothers and that he was born in pain. In fact, his name literally means “born in pain,” and whatever that could mean for his own life experience, we know that one of his requests to God is that he would be free from it. To be brutally honest, it also makes me wonder, “Who does Jabez think he is to ask so boldly for God’s blessing? What has he done to earn that right?”
I grew up my whole life in church. My dad has been a worship leader for as long as I can remember, and for many of those years, my mom sang right beside him. I’m so thankful for the churches I was raised in and the people who helped shape my faith. The foundation they gave me of trusting and believing in the authority of Scripture has been invaluable to me as a worship leader and songwriter.
But somewhere along the way from when I was young, I adopted an idea that following Jesus meant I had to think poorly of myself—almost like a religious self-loathing mindset. The more I could acknowledge how “unworthy” I was of God’s love, the better Christian I thought I was. Now, don’t get me wrong. Acknowledging our sin and desperate need for Jesus is the foundation of our faith. But looking back, I can see how this form of self-deprecation kept me from praying the way Jabez prayed.
But the longer I walk with Jesus, one thing becomes more and more obvious: Jesus loves us. He loves us so much that He welcomes us into His family with open arms. He cares about every detail of our lives. The more I grow in my understanding of God’s heart for me, the more my prayers have changed as well. Little by little, I am coming to God as a Father who wants to give me good things. I’m not talking about material prosperity. I’m talking about the really important aspects of life such as peace, joy, hope, and purpose.
He wants to expand my influence in His Kingdom. And I think He wants to grow your territory just like He did with Jabez! As I said in the story of Solomon, this doesn’t mean God is some kind of genie in a bottle. But I’m learning He does give us full permission to ask for His blessings. He truly has the best intentions for each of us, and we need to live and pray according to that truth. We can bring Him any request and trust His yes, no, or wait as a response full of love and wisdom. Let’s embrace this truth and learn to pray for blessings according to God’s purpose in our lives with the boldness of Jabez.
Heavenly Father, You know the desires of my heart. You know my every need before I pray. Today I ask You for blessings in my life. I ask that You expand my influence in the same ways You did for Jabez. I trust that You love me and want to provide for me, and I am ready to receive Your gracious gifts. Amen.
As you come to prayer, think of one blessing you want to ask of God. Write that blessing down on a note and post it in your car or on your refrigerator so you can see it the next few days as a reminder of what God will do in your life. Your heavenly Father wants to provide you with blessings. Be bold enough to ask!
- Have you fallen into the false religiosity of self-hatred that keeps you from asking your heavenly Father for blessings? How can you correct that way of thinking?
- What are some areas of your life where you would like to ask God for blessings? What has kept you from asking?
- How does God want to expand your influence in the world? How can the blessings you ask for help grow the faith of your family, your community, or your church?
- How can studying Jabez’s prayer help you expand your prayer life? Get together with a friend, a prayer partner, or a pastor today and pray for God to increase the blessings and “territory” or influence of your life.
Excerpted with permission from On Our Knees by Phil Wickham with Matt Litton. Copyright 2022, K-LOVE Books.
Phil Wickham is a Dove Award-winning modern worship music artist whose songs have been sung in churches around the world. From his Gold-certified singles “This is Amazing Grace” and “Living Hope,” to his latest project, 2021’s Hymn of Heaven, Wickham’s music has received hundreds of millions of streams across his catalog and platforms. Wickham’s discography includes eight full-length projects, multiple Christmas releases, and a series of popular Singalong records. This new devotional on prayer, inspired by his best-selling song “Battle Belongs,” is his first book.