Many years ago, I posted the Prayer of Jabez on the wall over my desk. A tiny scrap of paper, with the words copied in my own hand at first, then a sticky note, and later a printed page with the words in black font on white paper. More recently, I’ve gotten creative and posted the words in a colorful graphic design with a nice black frame around them.
But the message, a powerful prayer from Chronicles in the Bible, has been my heart’s desire for more years than I remember.
Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast,
and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou
wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!
The story, as told in I Chronicles 4:9 is that Jabez was more honorable than his bothers, and his mother named him Jabez, saying “Because I bare him with sorrow.” So when he was grown, he uttered these famous words of prayer, that God would bless him, INDEED. And enlarge his coast, and be with him, to keep him from evil that he might not be grieved.
Jabez didn’t want to feel the sorrow his mother felt in baring him. He wanted God’s blessing. Jabez sought hard after God’s blessing, and although he didn’t believe he earned it, he believed he would receive it.
Do you believe?
Do you look about at what others have suffered and ask for God’s blessing over you, that you might not suffer as they have?
I remember in the early days of my prayer, I struggled mightily with being a single mom (my husband left when my children were young), owning my business, and raising my children. It was my greatest desire that my children not suffer the horrific fates I’d seen in other children raised by single moms. I prayed fervently that God would intercede on their lives, and bring my children closer to Him each and every day. And I prayed the prayer of Jabez, “Oh Lord, bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast!”
At the time, we lived in a small town, and I longed for views of the Rocky Mountains. I longed to live where I could see mountain views, sunrise, sunsets, and beautiful skies. Our first home outside that small town was a condo overlooking the west side of Denver metro area, with views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The Front Range, west of the city, offered VAST open views, and I felt blessed beyond my wildest dreams.
I believed God would answer my prayers. And he did.
I learned. I realized, I had to believe when I asked God to provide. And more than anything else, I began to understand that I could ask of him ANYTHING. Absolutely nothing was outside the realm of being, if I asked for it. God would provide whatever I asked. I just had to open up my view and ASK for what I needed, and BELIEVE He would provide it.
Are you faithful?
If you have faith, as a mustard seed….
That’s really not very much faith. When you think about it, faith in the amount of a mustard seed, almost anyone can do that much faith. But what about bigger. What about if I have faith the size of a watermelon? Will it be more? Will the results be bigger?
And what if I choose not only to have faith, but also to remain faithful… No matter what? If I’m faithful to believe, to do what I must, and continue to be faithful to keep God’s word, and keep being grateful, no matter what? What if I choose to faithfully, believe, and hold onto God’s promise, even when things look bleak or dark? What if, I choose to remain FAITHFUL?
Are you faithful?
I chose to be faithful, even when the days were darkest… And trust me, there were some really DARK days during that time period. Yet, still, I remained faithful, dedicated to seeking God’s face even in the darkest hours.
I chose to remain faithful. I chose to have greater faith, even when all seemed to be loss, I remained faithful to the promise that God would provide.
And He did.
Sometimes in the final hour, but God always provided.
I did the work, and God provided the solutions, the answers, and the means of survival that we needed.
But then, I realized…
God wants more for me than to “survive”.
Ask and You WILL Receive.
I’d managed to work my way into a tither. In all the struggles of achieving my dreams, I’d been “going it alone” determined to achieve, and although I continued the Prayer of Jabez, and studied my Bible faithfully, I realized I was missing something. I was missing something important.
Business was good. My children were raised. And I’d stepped out in faith into a job I really hadn’t been excited about, but… It appeared to be right.
Slowly the revelation that I had stepped off the path, and I wasn’t where I needed to be spiritually. I had no fellowship, and I was beginning to complain, instead of feeling gratitude. When I realized I’d lost my ability to feel gratitude, there was more… I’d forgotten that tiny little thing about being FAITHFUL to be GRATEFUL in ALL things.
I’d forgotten to be faithful.
There was more than a mustard seed of faith inside that God was still providing, but the big issue was that I wasn’t being faithful to my part of this huge deal. I wasn’t feeling, or expressing my gratitude in anything. I’d abandoned my responsibility to do what I was called to do, which was to be faithful.
STILL, God’s provision stood firm. He continued to provide for my needs.
And I hadn’t really asked.
Oh, I’d prayed the words… But I hadn’t ASKED God to provide what I needed, or even been grateful for what was provided.
Then, someone reminded me that God’s provision isn’t based on my actions, but rather on His promise.
Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord – it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
There is no COST to the riches God provides us. His provision comes without cost. We don’t have to toil or EARN what God provides.
The Bible says ASK and you will Receive.
Matthew 7:7 King James Version (KJV) Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
God’s promises are true. His assurances are many. And His word is unbroken. My friends, you may feel like I’m preaching a sermon here, but it’s more… I’m sharing God’s Holy word with you, and the whole value that is provided within the constraints of what has happened with my own life, and how God’s provision really works. And it really DOES work. God provides very well when we allow him to do so, and look to him for guidance as to how we might better use the amazing skills and talents He’s provided us.
Yes, I firmly believe that some of His provision comes by way of talents and ways to use the many talents he’s given us.
But yet, still… There’s that toil thing…
God promises He will add no sorrow with His blessing. Which means He won’t make us toil to earn the blessing. But the work we get to do while earning our way in this world won’t be difficult or cause sorrow, if its work ordained by the designer of our skills and talents. God will make it pleasurable.
And that my good friends is the message I want you to hear through this commentary, loud and clear.
God will bless you in ways that fulfill the desires of your heart, when your heart desires Him. And He’ll do it in such a way that you find pleasure in putting forth the effort to earn those blessings. And better yet, my friends, He’ll bless you abundantly without you even asking Him… But make it a point to ask for what you want, and seek out His desires for your life. The benefits will amaze you!
Proverbs 10:22 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].
Let’s talk about those talents and skills, and what you can do with them to benefit you even more.